DryArmour

CHI-MAC Race Wx

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I've sailed from Port Huron to Chicago three years ago. There is a reason they call the lakes "inland oceans." We were off Green Bay and identified two emergency flares approximately 5 miles in front of us - called it in to the coast guard and began a search pattern for hours upon hours. Only when weather that put my family's life at risk approached did we call off our search. The water is deep. The water is cold. The water will find your weakness, in you or in your boat. It never fails.

God speed.

 

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On 7/21/2018 at 11:30 PM, sidmon said:

Fair Winds and Following Seas...

 

 

2018-07-21_222817.jpg

This is an incredibly poignant image. 

Fair winds and following seas. Condolences to friends and family. 

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I'm a veteran of 50+ Macs split between the two plus two solo Macs and I'm wrestling with this one.  Sure, the conditions were nasty but not unprecedented and nothing I'm sure the boat hadn't seen.  It just seems that a bunch of things added in phase to make this tragic event occur.  I hope I join with others who have thought more than once about the terror of hitting the water and the helplessness of a committed crew that watched a shipmate go under.  I realize that either could have been me over the years.  I have dodged that ugly bullet.  

I really want to acknowledge those that searched with the fervor of optimism.  You are my heroes.  

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Been their once ,no pfd at all, spent over 10 minutes before recovery and was not easy, life goes by fast, thoughts and prayers to all involved. 

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3 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

I'm a veteran of 50+ Macs split between the two plus two solo Macs and I'm wrestling with this one.  Sure, the conditions were nasty but not unprecedented and nothing I'm sure the boat hadn't seen.  It just seems that a bunch of things added in phase to make this tragic event occur.  I hope I join with others who have thought more than once about the terror of hitting the water and the helplessness of a committed crew that watched a shipmate go under.  I realize that either could have been me over the years.  I have dodged that ugly bullet.  

I really want to acknowledge those that searched with the fervor of optimism.  You are my heroes.  

Well said.

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On 7/22/2018 at 6:57 PM, sailjunke said:

 

Until you have done a search pattern in weather, you have no clue what it is like search for a needle in a haystack. And completely impossible to locate any targets at night in those conditions. 

 

This is the honest truth.

 

When we learned of this event I cant tell you how gutted we were. I just hope for peace for the Imedi gang.

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Doggy, 

Was 1sailor wise?  Congratulations on what had to be a tough ride.

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6 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

Doggy, 

Was 1sailor wise?  Congratulations on what had to be a tough ride.

100% correct call on his part. I'll be reaching out to him shortly for a debrief but to take a boat like that out without enough time and prep would be highly imprudent. 

Plus it was an asswhipping in this boat!

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9 minutes ago, doghouse said:

100% correct call on his part. I'll be reaching out to him shortly for a debrief but to take a boat like that out without enough time and prep would be highly imprudent. 

Plus it was an asswhipping in this boat!

You live to fight another day.  Congrats. 

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Hi All, 

I'm a friend of Jon Santarelli, the MOB on TP52 Imedi. He has still not been found and the search was turned into a recovery on Sunday, the 23rd. Jon spoke often of the sailing community so I am reaching out in hopes to garner as much attention as possible. We have set up a memorial fund that can be found at the link below. For the Chicago locals we are also setting up memorial night at Jon's favorite bar in Lincoln Park. If you want to give - that's incredible and we appreciate it, and if you don't all I ask is that you take 38 seconds to read the page and spread it around. Jon was an incredible person and will be missed by many. 

Jon Santarelli Memorial Fund

Cheers, 

TK

 

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15 minutes ago, therealtk said:

Hi All, 

I'm a friend of Jon Santarelli, the MOB on TP52 Imedi. He has still not been found and the search was turned into a recovery on Sunday, the 23rd. Jon spoke often of the sailing community so I am reaching out in hopes to garner as much attention as possible. We have set up a memorial fund that can be found at the link below. For the Chicago locals we are also setting up memorial night at Jon's favorite bar in Lincoln Park. If you want to give - that's incredible and we appreciate it, and if you don't all I ask is that you take a 38 seconds to read the page and spread it around. Jon was an incredible person and will be missed by many. 

Jon Santarelli Memorial Fund

Cheers, 

TK

 

Glad you are speaking up for your friend and memorializing him.  A lot of BS here hope you didn’t have to read it.

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20 minutes ago, Fakenews said:

Glad you are speaking up for your friend and memorializing him.  A lot of BS here hope you didn’t have to read it.

Thank you. I understand that people have opinions and some can just be BS, however, it will all be put to bed after he is recovered and an investigation into this tragic event and his PFD are complete. Jon was an adventurer and was doing something he loved. 

 

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6 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

You live to fight another day.  Congrats. 

I couldn’t agree more. The owner of the boat I was supposed to be on brought me in from out of state to help with the race (this would have been my fourth Mac on this boat). The boat lost their rig not too long ago and had a new rig recently stepped. Before arriving, one of the regular crew notified me that the mast seemed to be bouncing during a recent race.

When I arrived to the boat on Thursday, the first thing I did was pull on the forestay to see how much the rig actually moved. It came forward about 8”. Big concern. We measured the forestay and checked against the boat class specificactions. All good there.

The shrouds were at base, so I cranked them down to max. If it moved then, there would be serious issues in the race. Pulled the forestay again - 5” of forward movement. One more thing to try...went hard on the backstay, still 2-3” of forward flex. 

My mind was made up (I have over 20 years experience and over 10k offshore miles), but I still wanted additional opinions. I called a couple of rigger and pro friends who 100% agreed with my synopsis. My buddy and I made the decision Friday morning to not sail this boat, informed the owner of our decision, and strongly encouraged him to pull the boat from the race (which he eventually did). The boat was not safe for those conditions.

I tried to hop on another boat Saturday morning, but that is always difficult as boats are usually all set that close to start.

As fate would have it, this is why I was sitting at the CYC bar when the MOB call came in and took action to help.

Delivering this bad news is extremely difficult as I’m fully aware of the money and time it takes to prepare for a big race. However, there is no amount of money or time that trumps safety. I never once questioned or regretted my decision to pull the boat from the race. 

I met several of the Imedi team Friday night and enjoyed drinks with this great group of people. My heart goes out to Jon’s team and family. 

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12 minutes ago, sailjunke said:

I couldn’t agree more. The owner of the boat I was supposed to be on brought me in from out of state to help with the race (this would have been my fourth Mac on this boat). The boat lost their rig not too long ago and had a new rig recently stepped. Before arriving, one of the regular crew notified me that the mast seemed to be bouncing during a recent race.

When I arrived to the boat on Thursday, the first thing I did was pull on the forestay to see how much the rig actually moved. It came forward about 8”. Big concern. We measured the forestay and checked against the boat class specificactions. All good there.

The shrouds were at base, so I cranked them down to max. If it moved then, there would be serious issues in the race. Pulled the forestay again - 5” of forward movement. One more thing to try...went hard on the backstay, still 2-3” of forward flex. 

My mind was made up (I have over 20 years experience and over 10k offshore miles), but I still wanted additional opinions. I called a couple of rigger and pro friends who 100% agreed with my synopsis. My buddy and I made the decision Friday morning to not sail this boat, informed the owner of our decision, and strongly encouraged him to pull the boat from the race (which he eventually did). The boat was not safe for those conditions.

I tried to hop on another boat Saturday morning, but that is always difficult as boats are usually all set that close to start.

As fate would have it, this is why I was sitting at the CYC bar when the MOB call came in and took action to help.

Delivering this bad news is extremely difficult as I’m fully aware of the money and time it takes to prepare for a big race. However, there is no amount of money or time that trumps safety. I never once questioned or regretted my decision to pull the boat from the race. 

I met several of the Imedi team Friday night and enjoyed drinks with this great group of people. My heart goes out to Jon’s team and family. 

Balls!

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I was playing random music and the song "Brothers in Arms' from Dire Straits came on and one of the lines is:

 

You did not desert me, my brothers in arms.  

 

I've never met the Imedi crew but I hope they all find peace with the knowledge that they did all that was humanly possible.  

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I have spent my entire adult life working (as an aquatic biologist) and playing (sailing mostly) on large bodies of water. In Canada, government research vessels, from ships down to canoes, count as Coast Guard auxiliary vessels in SAR situations, so all of us were required to receive SAR training. Finding and recovering a volleyball-sized, highly buoyant, bright orange mooring ball is difficult enough in bright sunshine if the waves are more than a few feet and the breeze is up. Throw in darkness, cold water, spray etc. and the task becomes exponentially harder. It's also easy to stay level-headed when you are attempting to rescue a mooring ball. When it's your friend or teammate,  the emotional aspect of the search makes it especially draining and difficult. 

I wasn't racing in the Mac, or anywhere in the vicinity, but I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to those who put their own vessels and lives on the line in order to try to help. Competitors who abandon their own race to try to help a stricken vessel or MOB are truly heroes. The same goes for first responders and volunteers.

My thoughts are with the crew and families of Imedi. This sport that we all love is not without real risks, but that is part of what bonds us all together.  It could be any of us in the water watching our friends frantically searching for us in the dark and storm. Be careful out there and be thankful that there are many who would risk themselves without hesitation to save someone else. And remember the toll it takes on those who don't succeed in rescuing a fellow sailor. I can't even imagine...

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23 hours ago, therealtk said:

the search was turned into a recovery on Sunday, the 23rd.

Recovery? Did the CG or some other say there was a possibility that this poor lost soul could be recovered? Or was that just a euphemism?

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12 minutes ago, Parma said:

Recovery? Did the CG or some other say there was a possibility that this poor lost soul could be recovered? Or was that just a euphemism?

Do your homework?  Nothing disrespectful but it does move from a rescue to a recovery...meaning that that the victim is presumed dead and they are looking for a body, not a survivor.  

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On 7/22/2018 at 5:57 PM, sailjunke said:

I participated in the search yesterday and it is time to speak up to counter all the arm chair quarter backs...

I made a no go decision with the boat owner (who brought me up to help with the race) Friday night due to rigging issues. I was sitting at the bar enjoying a dark and stormy when the MOB call came in. Staring me in the face was an 86’ Viking with a three level fly bridge. My first thought was that would be a great boat to help in the search. I decided to see if the owner and/or captain were on boat and ask if they’d be willing to help.

Both were on board, visiting from Florida, and immediately they agreed to assist in the search. We hailed the USCG, they gave coordinates, and we went out. The search grid was only 5 miles from CYC. USCG had us set up a 1.5 mile east/west and .2 mile south turn grid pattern. We did this until the USCG called off the search. 

I was on the fly bridge with binocs actively looking the entire time. The weather was ridiculous with breaking waves and spray from the waves were blowing over the top of fly bridge. After a couple of hours, I identified one target about 500 yards off our bow and my heart skipped a beat. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a black rubber fender.

There were over 20 boats and three helicopters out there running crossing grids over nearly 50 square miles.

Until you have done a search pattern in weather, you have no clue what it is like search for a needle in a haystack. And completely impossible to locate any targets at night in those conditions. The Imedi team continued to search well past the USCG calling off the search (after nearly 8 hours).

It was sobering, and if you weren’t out there, keep your bullshit speculation to yourself.

A huge thank you to David who owns the Viking 86 (pictured) for not hesitating to go out and burn $1000’s in fuel to helo in the search.

0BC1701E-AB0A-44C5-8A83-44D75F2AEA96.jpeg

I read through this thread while coming home from mac.  Very emotional.  I've sailed with Jon, run Chiditarods with Jon, drove to and roomed with him at Devil's Head for the annual Area III guy's ski trip.  He was just such an incredible guy. 

I gotta say when I got to this post, and read about a guy sitting in the bar, hearing about the MOB, convincing a power boater to get out there and spend time and money for the search, I just lost it.  I'd rather not have had to hear about this at all, but given the events, I'm so appreciative of your efforts. 

I don't know either of you, but if you ever find me, I will buy all of your drinks, any time.

 

Jeff Olshesky

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Fuck, just re-read this post.  Not to take away from everyone else that participated in the search mission.  Lots of stories of selfless sacrifice that day.  This one just particularly moved me.

 

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On 7/22/2018 at 6:57 PM, sailjunke said:

A huge thank you to David who owns the Viking 86 (pictured) for not hesitating to go out and burn $1000’s in fuel to help in the search.

0BC1701E-AB0A-44C5-8A83-44D75F2AEA96.jpeg

+1

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That last one really gives you some perspective on the wave action.

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All three scream hate mission

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Happy I did not waste my time on the Island to come here over the past few days to see the circle jerk of what aboutism, blame-o-rama and self importance. Thank you to all who participated in the rescue effort, the selflessness that it is shown time and again by others on the water when tragedy strikes is inspiring. 

Thank you to those that put together the gathering at the Mustang, that was cathartic and nice to hear all the great stories about a great man.

As we passed #3 we poured a little out for our friend and the guy who could cheer anyone up, he will be missed. 

trib.jpg

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I wanted to get home and have some time to decompress before really saying much about this. We were all absolutely devastated to hear about this Sunday morning. After staring something like this in the face last year in an even more extreme situation, to have someone get lost now is heartbreaking. It's impossible to describe the emotional toll of this.

The response from the competitors and Coast Guard on this was top notch. Everyone went all out and sailors should be grateful they have that kind of community.

The sport has inherent risks, we all know that going in. The only thing we can do is minimize the risks and be conscientious. I've been all over the country the past year to discuss safety and MOB practices and avoidance, specifically with modern high performance boats. This is another reminder we can never be complacent.

My main wish now is that all those affected by this find peace.

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10 minutes ago, Temporarily Present said:

 

- You know who I am

 

Yep.

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I had 2 reactions after listening to the words spoken at the awards,

a few tears

and an gutted feeling in my stomach thinking about his close friends, family, and crew mates.

cheers to all that searched tirelessly....

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4 hours ago, sidmon said:

Glad he made it home.

Right on.  Fair winds and following seas.  8 Bells...

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On 7/22/2018 at 11:54 AM, jzk said:

Nowadays they have fully weatherproof vhfs.  Silly not to have one in the cockpit.  

Yeah, several of those "fully weatherproof" VHF's"  got so weathered their DSC went off with false distress calls throughout the day and night.  Only people below might have heard the radio and NOBODY went below if they didn't have to Also range on the handhelds is pretty limited.  You weren't there, don't second guess. 

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On 7/24/2018 at 8:37 AM, doghouse said:

100% correct call on his part. I'll be reaching out to him shortly for a debrief but to take a boat like that out without enough time and prep would be highly imprudent. 

Plus it was an asswhipping in this boat!

zero regrets on this decision, as Doghouse has put it, we had 5 sailing days in the farr 4oo is all, and an inshore mainsail not-reefable, meaning it coulda been a jib only race— in other words a delivery for harbor springs. we delivered a few days later with beer and mild conditions, much better!

having done 20 macs, I can tolerate some misery but this boat woulda been awful and i’m old enough to know better than putting my kids and crew thru all this.  

we are overdue for a ripper SWerly next year, and i’m gonna be ready !!

So sorry for the Imedi gang, I was once the MOB and this coulda been any of us.    Make your crew buy an AIS device, was john santarelli wearing one I wonder ?

e

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, lartaunt said:

Yeah, several of those "fully weatherproof" VHF's"  got so weathered their DSC went off with false distress calls throughout the day and night.  Only people below might have heard the radio and NOBODY went below if they didn't have to Also range on the handhelds is pretty limited.  You weren't there, don't second guess. 

 

Edited by Brian M.
Nope

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23 hours ago, lartaunt said:

Yeah, several of those "fully weatherproof" VHF's"  got so weathered their DSC went off with false distress calls throughout the day and night.  Only people below might have heard the radio and NOBODY went below if they didn't have to Also range on the handhelds is pretty limited.  You weren't there, don't second guess. 

This is a useful lesson to learn. Having the VHF only audible below can be an issue for this type of racing.

Most VHFs will have an external speaker jack, many boats have cockpit speakers. we should maybe consider it a safety feature to connect the two. Around 15 years ago i did this on the boat i sailed, but more for convenience than safety, as it allowed us to monitor the VHF on deck and turn off/turn down the speakers below deck.

There are several ways to do this, the way i did was not perfect but it worked. The VHF was fed into a car radio/cd, we hooked the cockpit speakers up as the 'rear' and the cabin as the 'front' and could then use the fader control to set where the audio worked.

The point being you don't need a waterproof VHF on deck to be able to monitor the VHF on deck.

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10 hours ago, JohnMB said:

This is a useful lesson to learn. Having the VHF only audible below can be an issue for this type of racing.

Most VHFs will have an external speaker jack, many boats have cockpit speakers. we should maybe consider it a safety feature to connect the two. Around 15 years ago i did this on the boat i sailed, but more for convenience than safety, as it allowed us to monitor the VHF on deck and turn off/turn down the speakers below deck.

There are several ways to do this, the way i did was not perfect but it worked. The VHF was fed into a car radio/cd, we hooked the cockpit speakers up as the 'rear' and the cabin as the 'front' and could then use the fader control to set where the audio worked.

The point being you don't need a waterproof VHF on deck to be able to monitor the VHF on deck.

We installed one of these in the cockpit.  Works great as we were able to hear all communications during the Mac. Only 4.5 inches.

1985829_LRG.jpg

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On 8/3/2018 at 11:05 AM, JohnMB said:

This is a useful lesson to learn. Having the VHF only audible below can be an issue for this type of racing.

Most VHFs will have an external speaker jack, many boats have cockpit speakers. we should maybe consider it a safety feature to connect the two. Around 15 years ago i did this on the boat i sailed, but more for convenience than safety, as it allowed us to monitor the VHF on deck and turn off/turn down the speakers below deck.

There are several ways to do this, the way i did was not perfect but it worked. The VHF was fed into a car radio/cd, we hooked the cockpit speakers up as the 'rear' and the cabin as the 'front' and could then use the fader control to set where the audio worked.

The point being you don't need a waterproof VHF on deck to be able to monitor the VHF on deck.

I as on the water for the Mac, we had 16 on in the cabin and anyone off watch could follow along with the happenings after the start. It was the most active I have ever heard while on the water. 

 

One thing that pissed me off is some fella in our section had the Coasties and competitors calling back and forth for over two hours while the USCG pinged boats in their vicinity based on AIS to have them flag him down.  

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27 minutes ago, 12345 said:

It was the most active I have ever heard while on the water. 

 

 

+1  Both harrowing and reassuring knowing that communication was constant.

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I guess that you have never tried to use VHF 16 in the Virgin Islands during Christmas when all the Puerto Rican boats have descended in droves. That must drive the CG nuts! 

 

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3 hours ago, 12345 said:

One thing that pissed me off is some fella in our section had the Coasties and competitors calling back and forth for over two hours while the USCG pinged boats in their vicinity based on AIS to have them flag him down.  

not following, what do you mean?

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USCG wanted to talk to a certain boat, couldn't raise them on VHF, then asked other boats to relay the message the old fashioned way.

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2 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

I guess that you have never tried to use VHF 16 in the Virgin Islands during Christmas when all the Puerto Rican boats have descended in droves. That must drive the CG nuts! 

The USCG itself drives mariners nuts with its incessant broadcasts, repeating every word three times  - "United States Coast Guard Puerto Rico, United States Coast Guard Puerto Rico, United States Coast Guard Puerto Rico" - and e.g. asking people to keep an eye out for a windsurfer that has gone adrift up at Annapolis a thousand miles away. That results in many people turning the volume way down and/or mentally 'tuning out'.

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They had a DSC malfunction going ape shit for awhile. It was Chico 2 IIRC.

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47 minutes ago, Svanen said:

The USCG itself drives mariners nuts with its incessant broadcasts, repeating every word three times  - "United States Coast Guard Puerto Rico, United States Coast Guard Puerto Rico, United States Coast Guard Puerto Rico" - and e.g. asking people to keep an eye out for a windsurfer that has gone adrift up at Annapolis a thousand miles away. That results in many people turning the volume way down and/or mentally 'tuning out'.

Not sure I've ever heard a broadcast referring to an incident 1000 miles away.  But if I were that windsurfer, or any other person in trouble, I'd be pretty happy to know that USCG was doing what it could to get the word out.  A little inconvenient to people listening to the broadcast(s)?  Yeah.  Small price to pay so that someone is listening when you're in need of assistance.

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35 minutes ago, doghouse said:

They had a DSC malfunction going ape shit for awhile. It was Chico 2 IIRC.

Ding Ding Ding.... 

We had another case a few years ago where we had to shine lights, blast horns and harass another boat to get them t turn on their radio as an EPIRB on board had been going off for three + hours and no one from their boat was monitoring 16. 

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51 minutes ago, olshitsky said:

Not sure I've ever heard a broadcast referring to an incident 1000 miles away.  But if I were that windsurfer, or any other person in trouble, I'd be pretty happy to know that USCG was doing what it could to get the word out.  A little inconvenient to people listening to the broadcast(s)?  Yeah.  Small price to pay so that someone is listening when you're in need of assistance.

But that's the point: many people do not listen, precisely because Channel 16 is a stream of noisy, inessential USCG broadcasts.

Who really cares about a missing windsurfer. The owner should have secured it properly, and in any case can always buy another one. 

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4 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

I guess that you have never tried to use VHF 16 in the Virgin Islands during Christmas when all the Puerto Rican boats have descended in droves. That must drive the CG nuts! 

 

Try the Gibraltar straits as well!!???

With a week long storm and 14 containers in the gap, its fucking mayhem. And then when the shit hits the fan the channels are full of Christmas carols and verbal abuse. 

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Really sorry for the family and to hear about this. But to possibly learn more about how to prevent this....

- Did we ever discover what brand auto inflater he had on? I've recently bought one and we normally don't use them where I sail. Mostly just dinghy vest.
- Do we know if he was conscious when he went over?
- If so, I wonder why he did not manually inflate. Maybe he did but the water is so cold there? What is the water temp?

Sorry if it was mentioned, I did try to read most of this.

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2 hours ago, DaveK said:

Really sorry for the family and to hear about this. But to possibly learn more about how to prevent this....

- Did we ever discover what brand auto inflater he had on? I've recently bought one and we normally don't use them where I sail. Mostly just dinghy vest.
- Do we know if he was conscious when he went over?
- If so, I wonder why he did not manually inflate. Maybe he did but the water is so cold there? What is the water temp?

Sorry if it was mentioned, I did try to read most of this.

I believe no reader or writer on this forum would like nothing more than recollection of real time observations, myself included. However all witnesses have been silent for reasons of their own. We should all respect their wishes.

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13 hours ago, onedesignracing said:

Maybe he did but the water is so cold there? What is the water temp?

Water temps that time of year in L. Michigan are typically low to mid 60s. I have no data for that day but some digging in the NOAA website would turn it up. It has been high 60s to low 70s the last week or so - warmer than seasonal averages.

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Checking the buoys #45007 S. Lake Michigan, #45774 Wilmette and # 45170 Michigan City for that afternoon shows water temps ranging from 71 degrees to 72.5 degrees.

Today the water temp at #45007 is 76.3 degrees

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Lake temps were pretty mild that week for Lake Michigan.  The firehose was running most of the day onboard and the water temp was a bit warmer than air temp during the day, July 21.

Details will slowly emerge after all involved have time to process and give Jon and his family the respect that is due.   As I continue to look back on the day, the details, and the dire weather we were thrown into I keep telling myself that accidents happen....to good people.  Does not make the impact of the tragedy less sharp but is a keen warning to those that venture out on the lake, to have your safety gear in place, updated, and your eyes and ears open so you can do as much possible for your crew if they are in an emergency situation.   I will be checking and rearming my PFD prior to the Verve Cup and hopefully most will do the same.  

Lastly, we were talking after the race.  Discussing sail plan and setup.  We race in a 1 design fleet so comparing and debriefing is a great tool.  I was surprised to know how many other boats, 2 that I know of to date, that were suspect on how to reef.  There are many procedures that help manage on such days and it should all be discussed and worked out prior to any racing.  Please know where you stow safety gear,...and know how to use it.  The comment about not knowing if we can reef from another surprised me beyond scared.   Do this procedure as well as put up storm sails and such.  I hope no one in our community needs to use these, but knowing you can get it done when trouble hits will help ease some of the fear.  

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