southerncross

VOR Leg 7 Auckland to Itajai

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27 minutes ago, Francis Vaughan said:

Between the MOB button design problem

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the four second hold time in the design is to mitigate the chance of it being set off by accident.

27 minutes ago, Francis Vaughan said:

Every boat that loses its AIS system has also just lost its MOB location system.

And the ability to see other boats at night especially in crowed areas.

 

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34 minutes ago, southerncross said:

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the four second hold time in the design is to mitigate the chance of it being set off by accident.

And the ability to see other boats at night especially in crowed areas.

 

Indeed, accidental set off is the most likely reason. But why? Like I said - it seemed like a good idea at the time. Such systems are a magnet for decisions like this. It is quite possible the 4 seconds was added due to complaints about accidental activation. I used to use a cascading set of such decisions to underline why design is hard to my software engineering classes. You can be sure the system will be reviewed and redesigned some time in the future taking into account this failure. This is the sad reality. Design rules are almost always written in the blood of those that were claimed by earlier lack of understanding. The history of this goes back to bridges and steam boilers. There is no magic bullet. It is how things change that mater - for that there is guidance.

The loss of the ability to see other boats in crowded waters was probably not uppermost in everyone's minds in the SO. Which may be a factor in blinding everyone to the continuing importance of AIS. 

Again, easy in hindsight. Lose the main AIS, get the redundant one working as a matter of urgency, because you have just lost your MOB beacon locator.  But, did anyone here realise the problem earlier? We have seen multiple AIS outages - yet no-one voiced a concern that the MOB locator was then inoperative - despite understanding how it works. I kick myself for this - it is the sort of thing I try to watch for. 

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1 hour ago, Francis Vaughan said:

Between the MOB button design problem,

 

1 hour ago, southerncross said:

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the four second hold time in the design is to mitigate the chance of it being set off by accident.

 

16 minutes ago, Francis Vaughan said:

Indeed, accidental set off is the most likely reason. But why? Like I said - it seemed like a good idea at the time. Such systems are a magnet for decisions like this. It is quite possible the 4 seconds was added due to complaints about accidental activation.

Having been on many and owning a vessel with a MOB helm button a delay function is an essential feature. Accidental triggering occurs  more often than you think particularly in bouncy uphill conditions where handholds get a work out. 

Most software does not accept more than one remote activated MOB record and so a accidental MOB that is not noticed for what ever reason disables the system. Furthermore many also include an all ship audio/siren alarm. False alarms are therefore not treated too kindly by the off watch.

A similiar approach is taken with canting controls that obviously can't include a delay function. The approach there is to mechanicaly give some protection to avoid accidental use.

In Scally's case this was not an issue as Libby was at the Nav station thank goodness. If not, then the delay in establishing a position would have been a horrible and long lasting burdan on the guy at the helm.

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6 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Having been on many and owning a vessel with a MOB helm button a delay function is an essential feature. Accidental triggering occurs  more often than you think particularly in bouncy uphill conditions where handholds get a work out. 

I don't doubt it was carefully thought out and justified. Nor would I suggest removing the delay. What it underlines is that there are cascading issues that are hard to nail down. One answer might be to remove the delay and to provide a cancel button. Another is to log position at every push of the button, even if full MOB activation doesn't occur. These are just off the top of my head thoughts. They are worth what you paid for them. All we really have is the knowledge that the system failed, and the design should be revisited.

 

13 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Most software does not accept more than one remote activated MOB record and so a accidental MOB that is not noticed for what ever reason disables the system.

Now that is insane. How the heck something like that could get past any sort of safety design review beggars belief. 

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Thanks for all the informed discussion. So many tough questions.

No public list of extra supplies/equipment found after a few hours searching. SI only list OA supplied safety equipment, not threaded rod, extra freeze dried rice, tools, spare wands, etc. Had hoped to hear of old Radio Direction Finders that could pick up AIS frequencies, or some other such faint hope, or that the recent Inmarsat conference were pointing out how their fleet equipment could pick up such signals. All that equipment on board, the skills of the shore crews, RO, and partners. 

One more point. I assume Libby, Witty and Paul Laurence did not speak to the NYT without higher approval. Sure hope the family and friends were notified and in the know. Would hate to hear they found out through an American newspaper. Sailing Illustrated had nothing when I last checked. Sir Robin used the Clipper website and Sailorgirl to inform the public.

Best laid plans oft go awry. Holding down the MOB button for 4 secs while driving through a crash gybe  . . . .  

 

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14 minutes ago, stief said:

One more point. I assume Libby, Witty and Paul Laurence did not speak to the NYT without higher approval. Sure hope the family and friends were notified and in the know. Would hate to hear they found out through an American newspaper.

I'm only on the periphery but the VOR have been very thorough and timely sharing information with John's family.

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2 minutes ago, Sea Breeze 74 said:

I'm only on the periphery but the VOR have been very thorough and timely sharing information with John's family.

Thanks. I hoped that was the case.

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16 minutes ago, stief said:

Thanks for all the informed discussion. So many tough questions. 

One more point. I assume Libby, Witty and Paul Laurence did not speak to the NYT without higher approval. Sure hope the family and friends were notified and in the know. Would hate to hear they found out through an American newspaper. Sailing Illustrated had nothing when I last checked. Sir Robin used the Clipper website and Sailorgirl to inform the public.

 

 

I read the NYT article first thing this morning and reacted the same as you apparently did, Stief, with surprise since discussion of this event has been so buttoned up and controlled, and with the hope and assumption that family and friends have received this explanation re the AIS and the MOB button as well.

There are a number of items of equipment on aircraft of all sizes that can be and have routinely been disconnected by the cockpit crew because they send out annoying (false) alarms. This has led to fatal crashes.

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6 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

I thought they carried an emergency VHF/AIS antenna in case the rig goes? Seems not.

The reason I thought that was not just obvious thinking but it actually sits in the OSR's for Cat 0, 1 & 2 that are copied below.

The VO65's have a VHF/AIS shared antenna at the top of the mast utilising a splitter. In other words being a shared antenna the OSR's for radio and AIS are automatically shared

It would appear the NOR, Class Rules and or SI's for RO supplied equipment must vary 3.29.01 where it refers to an emergency antenna. 

3.29.01 A marine radio transceiver with an emergency antenna when the regular antenna depends upon the mast

3.29.13 AIS Transponder which either: 
shares the masthead VHF antenna via a low loss AIS antenna splitter; or 
has a dedicated AIS antenna not less than 38 cm (15”) in length mounted with its base not less than 3 m (10’) above the Waterline and co-axial feeder cable with not more than 40% power loss (Loss Estimator)

If this is the case, then it is a major fuck up.

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1 minute ago, despacio avenue said:

There are a number of items of equipment on aircraft of all sizes that can be and have routinely been disconnected by the cockpit crew because they send out annoying (false) alarms. This has led to fatal crashes.

I believe you. I think we all have bypassed safety equipment and procedures.  Unintended consequences, as FV has said.

I'm also wondering about the Friday safety review meeting. Any idea when the other skippers were made aware of this problem so they could check their own MOB set-ups?  I had watched for anything like TTOP or the BoatYard advising other skippers about a possible problem with the spreaders,

Wonder if teams discuss whether info about  such problems should or should''t be withheld while racing. Will be watching for some hints at the presser.

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2 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

I don't doubt it was carefully thought out and justified. Nor would I suggest removing the delay. What it underlines is that there are cascading issues that are hard to nail down. One answer might be to remove the delay and to provide a cancel button. Another is to log position at every push of the button, even if full MOB activation doesn't occur. These are just off the top of my head thoughts. They are worth what you paid for them. All we really have is the knowledge that the system failed, and the design should be revisited.

 

Now that is insane. How the heck something like that could get past any sort of safety design review beggars belief. 

It is actually not insane Francis.

Insane would be a collection of MOB records and not knowing which is the fuckin right one, or alternatively via an accidental push of the remote MOB button or some Cancel Button, deleting a MOB record.

The button is not a smart controller, it is a button. The management of MOB's is and should be conducted at the MFD using the protections for accidental erasure etc built in. There are two on board, one at the Nav station and one up top at the companionway (s) protected by the hood. A MFD at the wheel won't last 5 minutes.

I'm assuming protocols on board would include someone checking the companionway MFD that the Remote has triggered a record in the event no one was at the Nav Station. Which in this case Libby was.

As far as backup goes a MOB can also be manually entered into the Nav Software. Obviously it is impractical/not possible to be linked to the remote button. Even if it was possible, computers being less reliable than a purpose built hardwired/firmware GPS/MFD arrangement, that not software must be the primary MOB position fix system.

I don't profess to have a mortgage on intelligence in this department but from my observation and practise in real life, the arrangement they have is excellent in so far as both execution, protection and redundancy is catered for.

I therefore think your claim on "system failure" is not only not warranted/way off base, but played no part at all in the incident on account of systems and protocols on board, that you appear to have no knowledge of.

The absence of a back up VHF/AIS antenna in the event the masthead unit went down should be at the top of the hit parade, not the remote button at the wheel.

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1 hour ago, stief said:

Wonder if teams discuss whether info about  such problems should or should''t be withheld while racing. Will be watching for some hints at the presser.

I would keep an eye out first on sudden amendments to NOR, Class Rules and or SI's for RO supplied equipment concerning a spare VHF/AIS antenna.

Then if so, my guess is it won't see the light of day at any RO presser, skippers presentation.

Scally presser I'm not so sure. Witty threw the following hand grenade, time will tell if he took the pin out or left it in.

"He added that he believed the race’s safety procedures worked well but that “we waste an awful lot of time and money” on safety equipment that is not as useful as a second antenna would be".

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7 hours ago, couchsurfer said:

...where'd they get the mast,,, a shoal in the Indian Ocean?  :rolleyes:

I tell you there is nothing wrong with Sothern Spars tubes, when they severed the rigging and the mast fell, apparently it bounced and they had to cut it up with grinders

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8 hours ago, southerncross said:

 

 

Zooming in on digital charts and satellite phone communications with rescue services were a challenge, she said. But it was not communication failures that hindered the search for Fisher. It was that Scallywag’s Automatic Identification System, or A.I.S., was broken.

 

My heart just broke, reading this. How awful for them :(

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2 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

My heart just broke, reading this. How awful for them :(

they actually reported it broken a considerable time period before John Fisher went over the side. I can't remember precisely when we are talking days before

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Wasn't it known a while ago that the ais was down? 

If a system goes down, is it the failure of the system or part and parcel of expectant breakage at this level of hammering? This is where redundancy comes in. A nice 1000 ft flare pie in the sky thrown as fast as a floater is a start. Slowing the boat and turning around in those seas is probably the greatest obstacle.

That said, I appreciate you guys wanting 100 percent out of mob systems and holding them to task.

 

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10 minutes ago, shanghaisailor said:

they actually reported it broken a considerable time period before John Fisher went over the side. I can't remember precisely when we are talking days before

As I recall it, we knew they had had problems but we weren't sure if it was still broken or if they had been able to repair it. So I feel that we now have confirmation. I guess it feels very bad for the team that broken gear made the search almost impossible. Just extra bad luck. 

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It was that Scallywag’s Automatic Identification System, or A.I.S., was broken.

17 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

My heart just broke, reading this. How awful for them :(

 

14 minutes ago, shanghaisailor said:

they actually reported it broken a considerable time period before John Fisher went over the side. I can't remember precisely when we are talking days before

Actually my blood is boiling if indeed the NOR, Class Rules and or SI's have overridden OSR 3.39.1 and 3.39.13 that mandate the carrying of an emergency antenna for Cat 0, 1 and 2 offshore races.

I hope I am fuckin wrong, as the last time I thought I was wrong was when I thought I was wrong.

 

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52 minutes ago, fufkin said:

Wasn't it known a while ago that the ais was down? 

If a system goes down, is it the failure of the system or part and parcel of expectant breakage at this level of hammering? This is where redundancy comes in...

That said, I appreciate you guys wanting 100 percent out of mob systems and holding them to task.

Way off base mate. Not a 100% expectation with anything electronic.

They didn't have the redundancy you speak of and as mandated by OSR's for Communications/AIS. They didn't have that OSR compliance  it seems on account of RO supplied equipment and to vary that requires a Class Rule etc amendment. In other words you can't simply bring something on board because you think it is a good idea.

I made a post here (directed at Scally I think but forget) when they left Auckland that I was fearful of back markers not being able to rely on the fleet to turn around and help them out in the SO.

In hindsight I should have also added that being in that position they then had no means to test if their VHF/AIS reciever/antenna function at least was working or not for say a potential MOB incident , particularly where only the auto AIS PLB activated and not the manual activated 406 kHz PLB.

It is not hindsight, redundancy is in OSR's that it would appear have been thrown out the window by the RO.

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15 hours ago, stief said:

Agree. So much there still to think about thanks to the subtitles. Had missed this part with the machine trans earlier:

Ñeti: "I’m not going to take the headboard car out of the mast track because if we broach, . . . 

5ad76ac9e5fa2_ScreenShot2018-04-18at9_51_18AM.png.984828ee78ca94f9d0efa0fe4125c63c.png

. . .  we can break the mast very easily."

Yes several interesting things in that vid.

Neti was covered in epoxy before the main repairs and I hadn't realised the repair team was there on spec, just in case.

 

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12 minutes ago, paps49 said:

Neti was covered in epoxy

covered in Sika....in fact his exploits and those on Akzo in Leg 3 would make a great Sika advert.

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5 hours ago, despacio avenue said:

I assume so. While not specific, the article I referenced stated that the salvage team completed the keel cut, floated the vessel, and the team recovered "all remaining equipment from the reef, including keel, mast and all equipment used for the salvage operation."

It was reported that the bulb ripped off when the boat was shoved backwards by a wave. It was too treacherous to go out the edge of the reef and recover it in the breaking surf.

And as to the rig, yes the video that was posted for a short while and then removed showed them letting the rig free fall and it bounced and remained intact.

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^^ A superb bit of work put together by Coxy (Shore Manager Vestas) who along with Bicey now run operations  Boatyard.

10805758_10152968711177437_1673204199152878467_n.jpg

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Re the AIS I think its a moot point about the spare antenna for the VHF, as they probably wouldn't have fitted it "just" for a broken AIS system (would you?) although theres a question wether it could have been rigged into the AIS at all? Certainly would have required an at sea rewiring, so fitting it after John fell over may have been considered as not viable?

The MOB button is a tricky problem, there are many ways for them to operate and none of them are ideal if they cause a false positive, what strikes me as a good idea would be a visual indicator the button has gone off, has no one invented a glowing ocean-level waterproof button yet?

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19 minutes ago, JonRowe said:

Re the AIS I think its a moot point about the spare antenna

 

19 minutes ago, JonRowe said:

has no one invented a glowing ocean-level waterproof button yet?

Jonboy the Monthly Bunny Award is very highly contested here, but even with just over a week to go before entries close, you have got it son.

Congrats, you have stolen Randumb's crown.

unnamed (3).gif

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I'll admit to being very jet lagged right now so I have no idea what you mean by that...

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Scallywag arrives today according to MarineTraffic5ad8558d6fc4b_Scallywagarrivestoday!.png.7a07f68c464aa95507c8a25007b96514.png

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Thanks Searobber...and thank god. That gives the ant team at best 2 days and 3 nights to turn her around.

Witty will want and have to be all over that particularly with his big boat frankenbuild experience. Poor bugger won't be getting the feeling  fresh start other skips get.

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7 minutes ago, JonRowe said:

I'll admit to being very jet lagged right now so I have no idea what you mean by that...

The Bunny Awards Jury are now glad to hear that..a tie breaker was on the cards.

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Antennas...
There is one authoritative source, the Vestas incident report from last edition. It lists all navigation equipment including: 2 VHF Antenna
The SI attachment 2 (ORGANISING AUTHORITY SUPPLIED ELECTRONIC AND MEDIA EQUIPMENT) is quite useless, the contents are from last edition for the old aerial minus some items...

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25 minutes ago, Chasm said:

Antennas...
There is one authoritative source, the Vestas incident report from last edition. It lists all navigation equipment including: 2 VHF Antenna
The SI attachment 2 (ORGANISING AUTHORITY SUPPLIED ELECTRONIC AND MEDIA EQUIPMENT) is quite useless, the contents are from last edition for the old aerial minus some items...

Chasm that is interesting if only that potentialy a change was made between the two editions having regard for Witty's statement, assuming it is reported correctly being:

"He added that he believed the race’s safety procedures worked well but that “we waste an awful lot of time and money” on safety equipment that is not as useful as a second antenna would be".

Fuck I hope some idiot in the 2017/18 spec/supply chain hasn't made a $100 cost saving decision/mistake here.

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40 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Chasm that is interesting if only that potentialy a change was made between the two editions having regard for Witty's statement, assuming it is reported correctly being:

Fuck I hope some idiot in the 2017/18 spec/supply chain hasn't made a $100 cost saving decision/mistake here.

The Estate of John Fischer; Seng Huang Lee and Sen Hung Kai & Co, as owners of the yacht and  the sailing team Sun Hung Kai SKallywag v. The Volvo Ocean Race, and Volvo Car Group and Volvo Group, as owners of the Volvo Ocean Race. 

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

.a tie breaker was on the cards.

presumably between PPS and randumb ?

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54 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Chasm that is interesting if only that potentialy a change was made between the two editions having regard for Witty's statement, assuming it is reported correctly being:

"He added that he believed the race’s safety procedures worked well but that “we waste an awful lot of time and money” on safety equipment that is not as useful as a second antenna would be".

Fuck I hope some idiot in the 2017/18 spec/supply chain hasn't made a $100 cost saving decision/mistake here.

If so, time for the Red Queen's most favorite phrase...

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26 minutes ago, Dark Cloud said:

presumably between PPS and randumb ?

Fuck no Dark..to be in the running for the monthly Bunny Award one has to VOR lurk. If that PPS fool decided to crash this room he will be sent packing with his walking frame sans rivets.

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22 minutes ago, Chasm said:

If so, time for the Red Queen's most favorite phrase...

Chasm that is a very fuckin long list to chose from...if so...my guess the lot.

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14 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Chasm that is a very fuckin long list to chose from...if so...my guess the lot.

"Off with the (his/her/their/your) head." 

 

Changing the OSR seems a bit special to me, even for the VOR but then it is the VOR...
Another question is what failed. Antenna/cable(s)/splitter/receiver.

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59 minutes ago, Chasm said:

Another question is what failed. Antenna/cable(s)/splitter/receiver

Scally say the the Antenna. Very easy to minimise the suspect's 

Splitter - Try direct connect VHF then AIS.

AC Reciever - Try VHF using handheld.

Cable / Antenna - Test at mast base connection, then back or try Emergency Antenna. Ooops don't have one of them.

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

Fuck no Dark..to be in the running for the monthly Bunny Award one has to VOR lurk. If that PPS fool decided to crash this room he will be sent packing with his walking frame sans rivets.

hahaha - sans rivets

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6 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

The absence of a back up VHF/AIS antenna in the event the masthead unit went down should be at the top of the hit parade, not the remote button at the wheel.

I don't disagree. This is a very significant issue, and must be addressed. Indeed I would like to know that changes have been made for the upcoming leg.

But, the button system failed to work as intended, and relied upon on boat protocols, and as you wrote:

8 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

In Scally's case this was not an issue as Libby was at the Nav station thank goodness. If not, then the delay in establishing a position would have been a horrible and long lasting burdan on the guy at the helm.

This is at odds with the well functioning on board protocol that you describe. "thank goodness" is not a safety protocol. My reading of events was that there was enough of a delay in Libby getting the MOB activated that they didn't get as close a fix as they might have hoped for. That may be a misreading, but events are such that they may never have got back to the right spot. We don't know, and never will know, how much of an error was introduced. But I don't think anyone can claim no error. With no AIS to track back on, this system became the primary mechanism for MOB recovery. It has to be held to the same level of capability as any primary recovery system. 

A lot of things went wrong that day. Swiss cheese model of accidents. You need all the holes to line up. And line up they did.

No doubt, the AIS issue looms large. But it is common in digging down in such accidents that you find other problems. To flatly claim that the MOB button played no part at all is IMHO not reasonable.  If the AIS had been working there would not have been a problem, but when it was allowed to fail, it uncovered a second level of critical systems, and their performance is left questioned. That is all.

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17 minutes ago, Francis Vaughan said:

This is at odds with the well functioning on board protocol that you describe. "thank goodness" is not a safety protocol.

Fuck I hate Pidgeon shooters who can't shoot and so selectively quote ...you missed adding this one Francis.

7 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

I'm assuming protocols on board would include someone checking the companionway MFD that the Remote has triggered a record in the event no one was at the Nav Station. Which in this case Libby was.

Keep digging that desperate hole..you will hit China soon.

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1 minute ago, jack_sparrow said:

Fuck I hate Pidgeon shooters who can't shoot and so selectively quote ...you missed adding this one Francis.

No, they were an hour apart. In the first post you never mentioned such protocols, only adding the idea an hour later. I'm pointing out that you are being inconsistent in your view of the reliability of such protocols. "thank goodness" is not a protocol. You come up with the protocols in a later post. You clearly did not think such protocols mattered or helped an hour earlier.  Your protocol would require the crew member in the companionway activating the MOB on the MFD in front of him. So why "thank goodness" Libby was there? By your account the protocol should have been equally reliable and safe whether Libby was at the nav station or asleep in her bunk.

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8 hours ago, Sea Breeze 74 said:

I'm only on the periphery but the VOR have been very thorough and timely sharing information with John's family.

Not just VOR were on alert, other teams also informed their friends and family - last thing a family member needs is a journo calling at whatever am in the morning to ask about sailor overboard and families not knowing who.

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11 minutes ago, Francis Vaughan said:

I'm pointing out that you are being inconsistent in your view of the reliability of such protocols. "thank goodness" is not a protocol. You come up with the protocols in a later post.

 So why "thank goodness" Libby was there? 

Try for starters "thank goodness" to Libby already being up and alert and imediately doing drift calcs from that MOB position etc.

Give up and find another horse Francis.

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11 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

But, did anyone here realise the problem earlier?

It may have been more about becoming complacent about an MOB.  It hadn't happened (except on Scally) for quite a while.

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It happened in the southern ocean in gale dark conditions.  Give it a rest about "prepared" "training" "proper equipment" woulda coulda shoulda. 


The moment the boat crash gybed and Fish got hit by the boom - it was over.

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2 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

But, the button system failed to work as intended, and relied upon on boat protocols

Francis, I think you may have overlooked this part in bold.  Seems more like a human error than a system or mechanical failure.

17 hours ago, southerncross said:

The helmsman hit the red man-overboard button at the wheel, which records the boat’s GPS location. But in those frantic moments, the button was not depressed for the compulsory four seconds it takes to record the spot.

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3 minutes ago, Miffy said:

The moment the boat crash gybed and Fish got hit by the boom - it was over.

Quite possibly true but they may have been able to recover the body.  I think the family and all close would have wanted that.

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1 minute ago, southerncross said:

Francis, I think you may have overlooked this part in bold.  Seems more like a human error than a system or mechanical failure.

No, I was regarding the four seconds as a design failure - so still a failure. It depends upon where you place the bounds of "system". I'm not trying to ascribe any sort of direct cause here, rather looking at the account and trying to think about places where things could be improved. The "in those frantic moments"  suggests that trusting humans to fit into the four second mould is something that needs addressing. It may have been oversight, it may have been physical violence of the gybe. Whatever. A big part of the problem is that these are rare events. Every time there is something to be learnt. A final conclusion may be that the design of the system is as good as it can be. But if you don't go down the path of looking at it, and reasoning about what happened carefully you don't know that.

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16 minutes ago, southerncross said:

Quite possibly true but they may have been able to recover the body.  I think the family and all close would have wanted that.

 

Depends who you talk to. Some prefer burial at sea - some don't. But it is neither here or there. Once Fish had passed, Witty had the tough responsibility to crew vs. very human wish to help his friend get home. Tough decision.

Anyone who has also sailed in any sort of off shore conditions would also recognize the difficulty of recovering even if all devices were working properly. I'm not saying no one should take a critical review and an after event/incident report process - but the focus about "what the crew" should have done is just asinine, particularly from people who can't even fathom the difficulty they were facing. 

 

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The stories are coming now.  An excellent description of the conditions as Miffy pointed out. A must read:

Jack Bouttell blog: The Great South

Yachts Yachting April 17, 2018  

Now in South America awaiting the start of the next, relatively short, leg to the Newport, Jack Bouttell looks back at the fast and wild ride in the southern ocean, which got the team from Auckland to Itajai.

From the outside, looking at the boats leaving the pontoon in Auckland was very similar to every leg start. From the inside it was a slightly different one. Everyone knew this was the big leg, the longest, toughest and coldest which made it harder to say goodbye and there were definitely more nerves around the place. The leg started in spectacular fashion with a huge turnout of spectator boats on the harbour with a great breeze and a tough upwind night, which lay ahead of us and that was just for starters!

Once we rounded the last bit of land we would see until Cape Horn we headed south very quickly. We had a few, high wind, high speed sail changes to do. We slow the boat down for these manoeuvres but they are the hardest for the bow team and the driver to try and keep the boat safe. I was on the bow connecting a sail when I felt myself lift into the air as the boat just dropped out of nowhere into a wave. I was clipped on but I wrapped my arm around the forestay just as I was lifted like a rag doll into the air, the wall of water passed and I was dropped back onto the deck and immediately I felt a searing pain in my left bicep. F#$k it, was the only thing in my mind as we were two days into a Southern Ocean leg and I knew an injury would be hard to manage.

Adrenaline carried me through the pain until the end of the manoeuvre, upon checking the damage the force of the water pulling me against the forestay had torn my bicep. At the time it really knocked my confidence as it was the first injury I had had the entire project and if I got hit by another wave I knew I couldn’t hold my weight with that arm. I strapped it up best I could, hit the pain killers and pushed through the pain. It was a bit of a strech during the leg as at some point everyone had some sort of injury from the constant battering of water that the galley ended up full of painkillers. Wake up, get dressed, grab some food, pain killers then on with your watch.

Pascal gave me an update on the forecast as we were heading south, he just said “10 days – 30 + knots all the time.” I sort of laughed as I couldn’t believe it but as the first low pressure approached that set the scene for the next 5,000 miles of racing. High speed downwind sailing with the whole fleet trying to thread the fine line between safety and performance. It was high stress, freezing cold racing, everything the Southern Ocean’s reputation promises. Charles stuck his head out the hatch on one of the watches and said he had some bad news. Normally when he says that it’s because we need to do 50 gybes or change a sail or something hard but this time he said that Scallywag had a man overboard six hours ago.

The news hit me like a bolt of lightning. It hit so close to the heart, like it was me or one of the crew on our boat who had fallen overboard. I remember it was such a surreal moment, I was driving a 65-foot skiff downwind in 35 knots, huge waves, freezing water, my hands and feet were frozen and the nearest land was Antarctica and I was just there crying my eyes out. I couldn’t stop, it just broke me. The boat seemed to almost be driving itself. I was taken away with the news and I struggled to work out why and how we can carry on. I can’t imagine how it was on Scallywag and all my thoughts are with the friends and family of John.

The repetitive, relentless, brutal sailing days in the South continued. Three low pressure systems passed over us before rounding Cape Horn and each one held its own different difficulties. The first was just insane and high-speed surfing waves. At the top of each one you didn’t really want to go down them as the boat left off the mark barreling down the face banging and crashing all the way. The second pressure system held the most breeze with a night of 50 knots. We barely had any sail up on that mental windy pitch-black night, but the boat was still as fast down the waves. I remember looking back at Daryl in the morning and saying it’s funny when 35 knots feels like a light breeze. The third pressure system was all about the cold, in each rain squall it snowed and filled the cockpit with hail stones and an icy breeze. One thing was sure as we approached Cape Horn, everyone was ready to get out of this place.

The last drive I did before rounding the Horn was one I will never forget. I got on the helm just as the sun was coming up, the wind speed was 40-50 knots and the sea looked insane, completely white with smoke spray blowing off the top of every crest and waves that were just incredibly long. The boat was magic, feeling airborne most of the time but somehow quite in control despite the insane conditions. Just before my time ended the boat started off down a wave and nearing the end we went straight into another one, ending the run at 35 knots of boat speed. I got off the helm thinking that is something not many people will ever get to experience.

A few hours later we rounded Cape Horn. It was a very welcome sight after all we had been through. Everyone came on deck and we had a moment all together to admire what we had just done and despite the south being over, reality then kicked in that we still had a long way to go. Another few days of difficult reaching conditions and a super tight battle with Brunel all the way to the finish line in Itajaí, it was a real fight. The first beer after being safely back on land has never tasted so good but my head was still lost in all that had happened over the leg for a long time after the finish.

We still have a long way to go in this race but it feels a lot closer now we are back in the Atlantic.

Next stop Newport!

http://www.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/volvo-ocean-race/jack-bouttell-blog-the-great-south/

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3 minutes ago, southerncross said:

The last drive I did before rounding the Horn was one I will never forget. I got on the helm just as the sun was coming up, the wind speed was 40-50 knots and the sea looked insane, completely white with smoke spray blowing off the top of every crest and waves that were just incredibly long. The boat was magic, feeling airborne most of the time but somehow quite in control despite the insane conditions. Just before my time ended the boat started off down a wave and nearing the end we went straight into another one, ending the run at 35 knots of boat speed. I got off the helm thinking that is something not many people will ever get to experience.

Any helmsman would appreciate this particular design aspect of the boat.  Few boats can be described as "magic" and "in control" when surfing in 40 - 50 knots and hitting 35 knots in a huge sea.

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Around 50nm to go, and the clock is ticking. ⏰⛵

Everyone in Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag are anticipating the arrival of the legendary Scallywag Delivery Team, as they make their way past Florianópolis.

Their estimated time arrival into Itajai, Brazil is later in the afternoon today (subject to weather conditions). We will release more information when available!

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9 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Way off base mate. Not a 100% expectation with anything electronic.

They didn't have the redundancy you speak of and as mandated by OSR's for Communications/AIS. They didn't have that OSR compliance  it seems on account of RO supplied equipment and to vary that requires a Class Rule etc amendment. In other words you can't simply bring something on board because you think it is a good idea.

I made a post here (directed at Scally I think but forget) when they left Auckland that I was fearful of back markers not being able to rely on the fleet to turn around and help them out in the SO.

In hindsight I should have also added that being in that position they then had no means to test if their VHF/AIS reciever/antenna function at least was working or not for say a potential MOB incident , particularly where only the auto AIS PLB activated and not the manual activated 406 kHz PLB.

It is not hindsight, redundancy is in OSR's that it would appear have been thrown out the window by the RO.

Fair enough Jack, I guess the basis of my point is that electronic mob aides are merely one of more than a handful of lifesaving tactics and obstacles involved...which I think has already been discussed ad nauseum. 

Whether or not, or how the ais fails is one part of the picture. The mob pole with beacon that you carry on your own boat, might be a partial remedy to a failed activation for instance...is it on board these boats? But all non electronic layers of redundancy should also be addressed on an equal basis.

I still say a 1000 ft flare set asap, at those speeds, can't hurt. A massively luminescent LED manual or auto activated mob pole would be another(electronic yes but independent of the boats electronics). I'm talking about something with the candle power to transmit light above wave height and from a distance(not just a light beacon). Don't know if this type of product is around.

There's zero chance I question the actions during recovery, nor the majority of the post script by you and others here close to the race(w the odd exception).

Hell, for me hindsight is 90/20 at best anyway.

 

 

 

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People are banging on about the 4 seconds for the man overboard button.

Put in full perspective however, that is 20% shorter (4 secs instead of 5) than you have to hold down the distress button an a marine radio AND it has a physical guard over the top of it AS WELL so the MoB linked to an AIS on a VO65 is less cautious than the International marine GMDSS system

Just sayin

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1 minute ago, ModernViking said:

VS11H is ready for the in-port.
Well-done

The boatyard crew are exceptional.

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Scallywag just posted a video of them arriving and docking in Itajai, on Facebook. Good to see captain Cam bringing it in. But how mixed feelings they must have, I can’t imagine. Bittersweet. 

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16 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

Scallywag just posted a video of them arriving and docking in Itajai, on Facebook. Good to see captain Cam bringing it in. But how mixed feelings they must have, I can’t imagine. Bittersweet. 

It should be the same video as on their YouTube channel.

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27 minutes ago, Rennmaus said:

It should be the same video as on their YouTube channel.

Yes, it is. But I’m under 100 years old, so I check fb first ;) 

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Just now, NORBowGirl said:

Yes, it is. But I’m under 100 years old, so I check fb first ;) 

Maybe that oldtimer should explain to you how to subscribe to YouTube alerts then? :)

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27 minutes ago, Rennmaus said:

Maybe that oldtimer should explain to you how to subscribe to YouTube alerts then? :)

Or we could tell you how to get notifications on Facebook? ;) 

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Instagram stories show that all teams came to help Scallywag. To remove sails and stuff from the boat etc.

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11 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

Or we could tell you how to get notifications on Facebook? ;) 

Haha, because the cool folks aren't on FB anyway. So consider me knowing about FB alerts. As you apparently do.

Mapfre's "Operación Cabo de Hornos: Capítulo 3" is online now too.

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9 minutes ago, forss said:

Instagram stories show that all teams came to help Scallywag. To remove sails and stuff from the boat etc.

Love that.

And even if this is not something new to us sailors, to help other teams, it would be nice if the VOR site also would publish something about it :) 

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18 minutes ago, forss said:

Instagram stories show that all teams came to help Scallywag. To remove sails and stuff from the boat etc.

Thanks for the reminder, it's a nice, little video compilation. Especially the part in portrait format. :unsure:

Brunel's beach gymnastics are fun(ny).

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59 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

Yes, it is. But I’m under 100 years old, so I check fb first ;) 

What is this Facebook thing you keep going on about??? From an under 50 year old :lol:

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20 minutes ago, Rennmaus said:

Haha, because the cool folks aren't on FB anyway. So consider me knowing about FB alerts. As you apparently do.

Mapfre's "Operación Cabo de Hornos: Capítulo 3" is online now too.

Hey, hey, are you saying I’m not cool?!

I go to work every morning in sneakers, with enormous things on my head to listen to music, like all the young people! 

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Just now, NORBowGirl said:

Hey, hey, are you saying I’m not cool?!

I go to work every morning in sneakers, with enormous things on my head to listen to music, like all the young people! 

Cool kids don't go to work :)

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The delivery crew looks like the ones from the winter Wednesday pursuits. :)

30704516_1758712300860586_6420074340481499136_n.jpg

30729859_1758712310860585_9164222816701120512_n.jpg

30740910_1758712304193919_2044410432965312512_n.jpg

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1 minute ago, hoppy said:

The delivery crew looks like the ones from the winter Wednesday pursuits. :)30704516_1758712300860586_64200743404814

Really funny to see captain Cam hiking, had little giggle :) 

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17 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

Again, easy in hindsight. Lose the main AIS, get the redundant one working as a matter of urgency, because you have just lost your MOB beacon locator.  But, did anyone here realise the problem earlier? We have seen multiple AIS outages - yet no-one voiced a concern that the MOB locator was then inoperative - despite understanding how it works. I kick myself for this - it is the sort of thing I try to watch for. 

Yep - and it was mentioned in the discussions on the MOB incident at the time. 

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17 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

I don't doubt it was carefully thought out and justified. Nor would I suggest removing the delay. What it underlines is that there are cascading issues that are hard to nail down. One answer might be to remove the delay and to provide a cancel button. Another is to log position at every push of the button, even if full MOB activation doesn't occur. These are just off the top of my head thoughts. They are worth what you paid for them. All we really have is the knowledge that the system failed, and the design should be revisited.

 

This is a good way to do it - momentary push drops a mark (to mark a whale sighting for for example) and long press for MOB. 

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8 minutes ago, littlechay said:

This is a good way to do it - momentary push drops a mark (to mark a whale sighting for for example) and long press for MOB. 

I agree. And I hope it will be implemented, it’s not very complicated. 

It would be a nice legacy. 

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19 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

Hey, hey, are you saying I’m not cool?!

I go to work every morning in sneakers, with enormous things on my head to listen to music, like all the young people! 

You need to be sipping de-caf lattes made from Yak milk, with a gluten free, nut free alternative biscuit, and an iMac pro. 

Otherwise it’s just fake.   :lol:

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2 minutes ago, NORBowGirl said:

I agree. And I hope it will be implemented, it’s not very complicated. 

It would be a nice legacy. 

I have it on my boat... runs on a Raspberry PI home mode plotter system though ;) Big red button 

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25 minutes ago, littlechay said:

Yep - and it was mentioned in the discussions on the MOB incident at the time. 

It was, but that wasn't really what I was asking. My question was - when the first time any boat, in any leg, reported that their AIS was inoperative, did anyone say - whoa! their MOB location capability is also now gone? Multiple failures - many it seems ascribed to the antenna system - and yet no action to address this. No change to provide an emergency antenna, no apparent efforts to provide any other redundancy. It slipped between the cracks.

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5 minutes ago, Francis Vaughan said:

My question was - when the first time any boat, in any leg, reported that their AIS was inoperative, did anyone say - whoa! their MOB location capability is also now gone?

The whole AIS is down thing is a bit weird. Maybe some genuine ones like Scally's cluttered up with some not so genuine ones? There might even be unreported outages the crew don't even know about when they are on their lonesome?

Remember the environment could not be worse for anything electrical no matter its IP rating.. There are more electronic failures, stuff being fixed on go, backups being used etc than probably appreciated.

AIS is just another one.

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58 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

The whole AIS is down thing is a bit weird. Maybe some genuine ones like Scally's cluttered up with some not so genuine ones? There might even be unreported outages the crew don't even know about when they are on their lonesome?

Remember the environment could not be worse for anything electrical no matter its IP rating.. There are more electronic failures, stuff being fixed on go, backups being used etc than probably appreciated.

AIS is just another one.

Lack of diesel heating is one of the leading causes of condensation - the sealed boxes might be IP rated, the connections aren't.

 

But we have ppl complaining about how it isnt hard enough so take heaters out. 

The only way I know how to test AIS without a buddy boat. Setting the MMSI intentionally incorrect on the chartplotter and seeing if the correct info shows up as AIS contact. 

Without examining the boat, hard to know if multiple failures occureed, b&G radios have receivers built in, class B transmitter also receives but chartplotter may not be setup to receive from radio. 

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16 minutes ago, Miffy said:

The only way I know how to test AIS without a buddy boat.

Can use a PLB to test receiver, transmission they don't care to much about.

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