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Chicago Mackinac Race drowning

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Has a report been issued on the man who drowned at the start of the Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac?  I understood his automatic inflatable PFD did not inflate.  Did anyone determine why it did not inflate?    What brand was it?  Were there any recommendations  published to help avoid accidents  like his?  

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I will have to dig around to find corroborating evidence, but I was talking about this at the Verve cup and apparently the man was cremated with the PFD still on and before it could be examined so the only tangible bit of evidence left was the CO2 cartridge which was not punctured.

Seems awfully shady and again, I need to find confirmation of this, but if anyone out there has a source for this it would be interesting to find out how that could have possibly happened.

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26 minutes ago, Ren said:

apparently the man was cremated with the PFD still on and before it could be examined

Wat.

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13 minutes ago, doghouse said:

Wat.

I know, right? 

Seemed crazy when it was mentioned, but it was by a crew member who is not prone to fits of melodrama so I was hoping there was someone out there that could confirm or deny the claim.

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That sounds absolutely ridiculous especially given the fact that if an autopsy was performed the coroner wouldn't had left a PFD on the body.

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Just can't understand why they are not letting out any info. You hope for every tragedy a little good could come out of it. The good would be finding out why it did not inflate so it might just save another life?

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Investigations take time. It’s only been 34 days. We will get a full report with recommendations in due time. 

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On 8/24/2018 at 7:57 PM, Lightfoot said:

Thorough Investigations take time. It’s only been 34 days. We will get a full report with recommendations in due time. 

FTFY.  Not making a comment on this particular investigation, but more generally, if an investigation is going to be thorough, it isn't completed over night.

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12 hours ago, Glenn McCarthy said:

Who is conducting an investigation?  CYC? USCG? Chicago PD?  Coroner? US Sailing?

I would hope the coroner and USCG

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Not sure there is much of an investigation. The victim was cremated soon after he was found. I don't know if anyone kept the PFD but one rumor I heard is that it was destroyed.

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Given the number of drownings on Lake Michigan each year, I doubt any one gets a thorough investigation from USCG.

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Just did the unthinkable.  Pulled the cord on my 25+ year Sospenders/harness.  It had good use and it fired up like a champ and has held air for the past 3 hours.  I have no recommendations other than stay on the boat.  They haven't built a chute worth my life.  Just use good judgment and stay on the boat.  

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Hasn't US Sailing Association been doing an investigation on fatal accidents during races in recent years?  I read the reports they did from the Wingdings, Aegan (N2E) and the Round The Islands SoCal incidents and thought they were pretty thorough and well done.

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Yes, they have done two for Mac incidents in the last decade.

The investigation for this will be CYC deciding whether to require people to clip in.

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5 minutes ago, CFS Klopas said:

Yes, they have done two for Mac incidents in the last decade.

The investigation for this will be CYC deciding whether to require people to clip in.

 

 

Or ais mob equipment. 

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A personal AIS – MOB transmitter is nice safety gear, but it will not solve the issue at hand.  His vest did not inflate.  The signal from the transmitter would be useless underwater – the antenna needs to be above water.   And I still want to learn, specifically, why his vest did not inflate. 

Even if you have an automatic inflating vest, this incident points out that you still need the manual, pull-cord outside the cover of the vest and available for use.  When seconds count you don’t want to be tugging at your vest to open it search for the hidden pull-cord. 

Just as Cal20sailer did, I retired my 1994 manual Sospenders that I bought through USYRU on a special discount for members.  A friend, Larry Klein, had died while sailing an experimental monohull on San Francisco Bay and I decided to reevaluate my safety gear and take advantage of the group buy discount from USYRU. 

Four years ago, I replaced my Sospenders with a Kru Sport Pro – automatic, crotch strap and spray hood.   

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A view of another TP52 not too long after the MOB. Note one of the crew coming back off the rail into the cockpit at about 00:18.

 

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Didn't see this posted anywhere else....

DRYA Sailors: Fast Tango experienced a MOB situation during last Saturday's CSYC regatta. It has been suggested I share the debrief email sent to FT crew with the sailing community, in the interesting of learning from our experience:

All,
Fast Tango had a MOB during the CSYC race. For those of you not there, everything is fine, no one got hurt. However, there are some important observations that I want to share with all of you.

Adam was our MOB. He went in after spiking the spinnaker for a douse as we were approaching the 2nd mark; we had a full main, and a #3 up in anticipation of the mark rounding. Wind was 25 knots, sea state was a little choppy, but still fairly flat, with about 2 foot waves. Adam was wearing a foam vest style PFD.

As soon as I heard ‘man overboard’ I deployed the MOM unit. This is the older MOM unit, and not the brand new Dan-Buoy unit on board for the Mac races. The spar buoy inflated, as far as I know, the horseshoe buoy did not. While this was going on, the crew were attempting to douse the spinnaker, which had been tripped. The halyard was not coming down, and we were moving downwind away from Adam at 6-ish knots. Initially, I thought the problem was the cam cleat just below the halyard exit, but this was not the case, the problem was aloft. While this was going on, Mariah, a boat on the course behind us sailing under jib and main, pulled Adam out of the water. Ahead of us, Chico II and Scout, who had rounded the next mark, also diverted toward Adam to assist. Knowing he was out of the water, we focused on getting the spinnaker down. We had the guy on the primary winch, and could not grind it out. We sent Bryan to the top of the rig, where he spiked the shackle open.

It hit me, and everyone else, very hard, that we were not able to get back to Adam. We were lucky that there was another boat close by who was able to get to him, and pull him out. Per Adam, the crew of Mariah did a very professional job of deploying their Life-Sling, and getting him on board. But, our thoughts were all on a scenario where there were no other boats to assist; what could we have done better?

We didn’t do the quick stop maneuver; we expected the halyard to release, and the spinnaker to drop, quickly. When it didn’t most of our focus became directed to trying to grind it down. Of course, by this time, Adam was out of the water, but we all recognized that had there not been other boats, he could have been in trouble, because we couldn’t get back to him.

One the way back to CSYC, we talked about what we did, and what could have been done better:

We did not hit the MOB button on the GPS.

We did not have the GPS/DSC enabled handheld VHF on deck.

Justine, who did not know where she could help best, took it upon herself to be the ‘spotter’ for Adam, which is the best thing she could have done. Nice work, and quick thinking, Justine.

The MOM unit failed (when Adam reached the inflated spar buoy, and hugged it to take advantage of the additional buoyancy, it ‘popped’, deflated, and sank. We don’t think the horseshoe buoy ever inflated.

Knowing Adam was safe, we were no longer focused on getting back to him, but on getting the spinnaker down; while he was in the water, we should have started the motor, in neutral, cleared all the lines, dropped all the other sails, and motored back to Adam, which may or may not have worked, with a spinnaker halyard stuck, and the amount of wind, but it would have been better than sailing away. Our concern was a line fouling the prop, putting us in a position of not being able to sail, or motor, with a MOB to get to.

Post analysis of the halyard (by looking at it with binoculars once we were back at BYC) shows there is something preventing the halyard from passing thru the turning block; it looks like there is a knot in the halyard. What I think happened is this: When we hoisted the spinnaker, it filled, and the halyard had to be ground up the last 3-4 feet. My spinnaker halyards have the cover stripped, and the shackle end has 3-4 feet of chafe guard material covering the core, and tapered and buried inside the core, 3-4 feet from the shackle. When we ground the halyard up, the lock stitch for the taper broke, pulling the taper out of the core, allowing it to bunch up around the core, closer to the shackle. (There is about a 2 foot distance between the halyard block, and where the halyard enters the mast, aloft). The odds of this happening are low, but it happened. The odds of this happening with a MOB are even lower, nonetheless, it happened, and is a clear example of how quickly things can go sideways.

Moving forward, we are going to do the following:
Make sure everyone knows where the MOB button is on the GPS
Make sure everyone knows how to hit the ‘panic’ button on the ship’s VHF
Make sure the GPS/DSC enabled handheld VHF is on deck, and, everyone knows how to activate its ‘panic’ button.
The new Dan Buoy unit will be part of the rigging process; every time we go out, we will rig it to the stern pulpit, when we de-rig the boat, we will remove it and stow below. This will prevent UV degradation, and allow it to function properly.
We are going to do more frequent MOB recovery drills.
We are going to reconsider, and be much more selective about the practice of closing the engine water intake and stowing keys in the bilge. As it happened, I’d forgotten to do that yesterday, so it was not an issue, but it is something to be considered.

We take pride in our seamanship and boat handling skills, yet, in this instance, we exposed some weaknesses.

I love all of you, and would hate to lose any of you.

Those of you who were onboard yesterday, please feel free to edit, correct, or otherwise comment on this, I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Once again, big thanks to Chico II, Scout, and especially Mariah, for the help.

With gratitude and thanks,

TP

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15 hours ago, CFS Klopas said:

The investigation for this will be CYC deciding whether to require people to clip in.

That's great until the boat tacks or anyone needs to get off the rail and move to do something.

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On 9/2/2018 at 5:44 AM, sidmon said:

Didn't see this posted anywhere else....

DRYA Sailors: Fast Tango experienced a MOB situation during last Saturday's CSYC regatta. It has been suggested I share the debrief email sent to FT crew with the sailing community, in the interesting of learning from our experience:

All,
Fast Tango had a MOB during the CSYC race. For those of you not there, everything is fine, no one got hurt. However, there are some important observations that I want to share with all of you.

Adam was our MOB. He went in after spiking the spinnaker for a douse as we were approaching the 2nd mark; we had a full main, and a #3 up in anticipation of the mark rounding. Wind was 25 knots, sea state was a little choppy, but still fairly flat, with about 2 foot waves. Adam was wearing a foam vest style PFD.

As soon as I heard ‘man overboard’ I deployed the MOM unit. This is the older MOM unit, and not the brand new Dan-Buoy unit on board for the Mac races. The spar buoy inflated, as far as I know, the horseshoe buoy did not. While this was going on, the crew were attempting to douse the spinnaker, which had been tripped. The halyard was not coming down, and we were moving downwind away from Adam at 6-ish knots. Initially, I thought the problem was the cam cleat just below the halyard exit, but this was not the case, the problem was aloft. While this was going on, Mariah, a boat on the course behind us sailing under jib and main, pulled Adam out of the water. Ahead of us, Chico II and Scout, who had rounded the next mark, also diverted toward Adam to assist. Knowing he was out of the water, we focused on getting the spinnaker down. We had the guy on the primary winch, and could not grind it out. We sent Bryan to the top of the rig, where he spiked the shackle open.

It hit me, and everyone else, very hard, that we were not able to get back to Adam. We were lucky that there was another boat close by who was able to get to him, and pull him out. Per Adam, the crew of Mariah did a very professional job of deploying their Life-Sling, and getting him on board. But, our thoughts were all on a scenario where there were no other boats to assist; what could we have done better?

We didn’t do the quick stop maneuver; we expected the halyard to release, and the spinnaker to drop, quickly. When it didn’t most of our focus became directed to trying to grind it down. Of course, by this time, Adam was out of the water, but we all recognized that had there not been other boats, he could have been in trouble, because we couldn’t get back to him.

One the way back to CSYC, we talked about what we did, and what could have been done better:

We did not hit the MOB button on the GPS.

We did not have the GPS/DSC enabled handheld VHF on deck.

Justine, who did not know where she could help best, took it upon herself to be the ‘spotter’ for Adam, which is the best thing she could have done. Nice work, and quick thinking, Justine.

The MOM unit failed (when Adam reached the inflated spar buoy, and hugged it to take advantage of the additional buoyancy, it ‘popped’, deflated, and sank. We don’t think the horseshoe buoy ever inflated.

Knowing Adam was safe, we were no longer focused on getting back to him, but on getting the spinnaker down; while he was in the water, we should have started the motor, in neutral, cleared all the lines, dropped all the other sails, and motored back to Adam, which may or may not have worked, with a spinnaker halyard stuck, and the amount of wind, but it would have been better than sailing away. Our concern was a line fouling the prop, putting us in a position of not being able to sail, or motor, with a MOB to get to.

Post analysis of the halyard (by looking at it with binoculars once we were back at BYC) shows there is something preventing the halyard from passing thru the turning block; it looks like there is a knot in the halyard. What I think happened is this: When we hoisted the spinnaker, it filled, and the halyard had to be ground up the last 3-4 feet. My spinnaker halyards have the cover stripped, and the shackle end has 3-4 feet of chafe guard material covering the core, and tapered and buried inside the core, 3-4 feet from the shackle. When we ground the halyard up, the lock stitch for the taper broke, pulling the taper out of the core, allowing it to bunch up around the core, closer to the shackle. (There is about a 2 foot distance between the halyard block, and where the halyard enters the mast, aloft). The odds of this happening are low, but it happened. The odds of this happening with a MOB are even lower, nonetheless, it happened, and is a clear example of how quickly things can go sideways.

Moving forward, we are going to do the following:
Make sure everyone knows where the MOB button is on the GPS
Make sure everyone knows how to hit the ‘panic’ button on the ship’s VHF
Make sure the GPS/DSC enabled handheld VHF is on deck, and, everyone knows how to activate its ‘panic’ button.
The new Dan Buoy unit will be part of the rigging process; every time we go out, we will rig it to the stern pulpit, when we de-rig the boat, we will remove it and stow below. This will prevent UV degradation, and allow it to function properly.
We are going to do more frequent MOB recovery drills.
We are going to reconsider, and be much more selective about the practice of closing the engine water intake and stowing keys in the bilge. As it happened, I’d forgotten to do that yesterday, so it was not an issue, but it is something to be considered.

We take pride in our seamanship and boat handling skills, yet, in this instance, we exposed some weaknesses.

I love all of you, and would hate to lose any of you.

Those of you who were onboard yesterday, please feel free to edit, correct, or otherwise comment on this, I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Once again, big thanks to Chico II, Scout, and especially Mariah, for the help.

With gratitude and thanks,

TP

Good description of Murphy's law applied to a MOB situation.  I had the cover of a spinnaker halyard chafe through and prevent the halyard from being able to be released on my Flying Scot. Had to cut the core.  MOM8A unit needs to be routinely inspected. Every crew should routinely practice MOB drills.  We lost our foredeck man on a wednesday night race around the buoys on a Hunter 25.5. He had a PFD on. Just put the chute up and he was securing the jib on the foredeck. Lost his footing and went swimming. We were lucky and got the chute down and were able to do a text book recovery. Everything has to work for that to happen.

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On 9/1/2018 at 3:01 PM, CFS Klopas said:

Yes, they have done two for Mac incidents in the last decade.

The investigation for this will be CYC deciding whether to require people to clip in.

The only thing the clip-in requirement will do, is shorten the search for the body.

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1 hour ago, TsunamiMike said:

News link from yesterday.  No investigation.  Extremely unhappy about this:

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/09/21/questions-swirl-around-the-death-of-mackinac-sailor/

 

1 hour ago, doghouse said:

That's nonsensical. There was a CO2 cartridge in it.

How is it possible for this to happen just by accident?

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1 hour ago, Rum Runner said:

I am not a conspiracy theorist but it makes me worry that this has happened .

 

https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2018/09/24/opportunity-lost-investigate-accident/

 

Hanlon's Razor:  "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

From what I gather, it's common practice for medical examiners to send unclaimed clothing and personal property to the funeral home or crematory with the body. They probably had no idea that the PFD would be useful to an investigation.

Sounds like CYC and/or US Sailing are the appropriate investigating agencies. My guess is that between them and the family, everyone thought that surely someone else would make sure they got custody of the PFD.

Personally I don't guess that an examination of the PFD would reveal an inherent flaw that somehow slipped past product testing. More likely it's just a case of "sometimes these things fail." So all you can do is maintain and test your own equipment and hope for the best.

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Pic taken on Imdei's pass by Navy Pier on the way out to the start...

What brand of PFD is the gent wearing on the left?

Was the PFD Mr. Santarelli's personal one or a boat jacket?

Image result for imedi chicago mackinac

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The circle makes me think Mustang but it doesn't look like anything they currently have for sale.

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This happened in Cook County, AKA Crook County. I'm not surprised by anything that happens in Chicago. 

 

Do an annual safety check of your PFD. Not that hard and takes only a few minutes. I replaced my light and CO2 cartridge this year, also performed a manual inflation and let the PFD sit for two days to ensure that there is not a slow leak with the bladder. You and solely you are responsible for your safety equipment.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, TJSoCal said:

Sounds like CYC and/or US Sailing are the appropriate investigating agencies.

neither can really be called "agencies"...

nor are either of them are really suited to conduct an investigation - Us Sailing has done reports.., but it's not the same thing.

 coroners office needed to be involved from the beginning - ordering an autopsy.., probably with specific tests and so on. real investigative agencies have subpoena power - USCG and NTSB both do.

a real investigation costs money - beyond any lab expenses.., there are travel expenses for witnesses and experts.., it adds up.

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45 minutes ago, LTR said:

This happened in Cook County, AKA Crook County. I'm not surprised by anything that happens in Chicago. 

 

Do an annual safety check of your PFD. Not that hard and takes only a few minutes. I replaced my light and CO2 cartridge this year, also performed a manual inflation and let the PFD sit for two days to ensure that there is not a slow leak with the bladder. You and solely you are responsible for your safety equipment.  

 

 

Go fuck yourself.

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What part of my statement do you disagree with? 

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1 hour ago, us7070 said:

neither can really be called "agencies"...

nor are either of them are really suited to conduct an investigation - Us Sailing has done reports.., but it's not the same thing.

 coroners office needed to be involved from the beginning - ordering an autopsy.., probably with specific tests and so on. real investigative agencies have subpoena power - USCG and NTSB both do.

a real investigation costs money - beyond any lab expenses.., there are travel expenses for witnesses and experts.., it adds up.

I believe that CYC brought in people from US Sailing to do the report about the capsize deaths a few years ago. As I remember, it was a very professional and thorough report.  I don't know what is being done for this year's investigation.

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Person on left in photo looks like they have inflatable on but maybe not buckled?

Sure looks like a lot of crew in foulies with no evidence of lifejackets.   I don't want to try swimming in foulies so always wear a lifejacket with them.

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5 hours ago, LTR said:

This happened in Cook County, AKA Crook County. I'm not surprised by anything that happens in Chicago. 

 

Do an annual safety check of your PFD. Not that hard and takes only a few minutes. I replaced my light and CO2 cartridge this year, also performed a manual inflation and let the PFD sit for two days to ensure that there is not a slow leak with the bladder. You and solely you are responsible for your safety equipment.  

 

 

Better yet, don't wear an inflatable

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2 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

Person on left in photo looks like they have inflatable on but maybe not buckled?

Sure looks like a lot of crew in foulies with no evidence of lifejackets.   I don't want to try swimming in foulies so always wear a lifejacket with them.

I’d ease off on the comments from that photo. Like many here, we’ve been through that song and dance many times. I’ve rarely been geared up for the PR fly by. 

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Take the 2 day Safety at Sea seminar. Test your  inflatable harness.  Do your due diligence.  It's your life. Take responsibility for it!

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15 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

Person on left in photo looks like they have inflatable on but maybe not buckled?

Sure looks like a lot of crew in foulies with no evidence of lifejackets.   I don't want to try swimming in foulies so always wear a lifejacket with them.

They are still inside the breakwall in that pic... 

 

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Ok enough said about the picture.  Blasting crew for the state of their PFD's buckled or not or not even wearing one is a road no one should take. 

As stated in the RRS, 4 DECISION TO RACE The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.

Tragic that we can not know about the safety equipment involved in this summer's incident.  Information based on reports helps us sailor's for future contests and racing and there can USUALLY never be too much information.

My PFD exploded while on the rail this race.  It happened to another crew member last year.  Scared the shit out of the others sitting next to him on the rail, but it made us feel pretty good about its de-ployability and safety.  

Re-arming it and checking it was something I did not mind at all and is worth the 40 bucks knowing the unit is ready for use.

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This post is not insinuating, blaming, being disrespectful or any other demeaning word you can find to Imedi, the crew, family, friends or the sailing community in any capacity. 

Why hasn't the CYC come forward to address the destroyed "equipment" they promised to inspect and report on? The entire process into the investigation of this horrible accident has been handled so poorly it's embarrassing to the CYC and all the other parties involved in the so-called "report." Maybe I am premature and a thorough report will be published soon. The fact that a thorough investigation that was PROMISED and not conducted is so inept I find it appalling. 

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the Santarelli family, his friends, and the entire sailing community,” Chicago Yacht Club said in a statement last evening. CYC Rear Commodore Nick Berberian said that the club would investigate Santarelli’s death, including his personal flotation device.

Flame retardant jacket on, so flame away. 

 

 

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Not blaming or criticizing, just one inviolate principle:  When the foulies go on, the life jacket goes on.  I'm totally paranoid about trying to swim in them, especially with boots on.  Scares the fuck out of me.

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You may be surprised that it's not as terrifying as you think, I've done life raft drills in full gear as part of the YA required Sea Safety Survival Course (SSSC) your follies plus boots do hold quite a bit of air and help keep you buoyant, admittedly this was done in a swimming pool but I was able to easily swim the length of the pool in full gear with and without a PFD.

I've also gone overboard in about 30-35 knots in a lake wearing pants alone and no PFD and was able to keep my head above water (while dodging boats) until I was picked up, it always feels longer when you're in the water but I'd take a safe punt at being in there for 10-15 minutes.

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21 hours ago, LTR said:

Why hasn't the CYC come forward to address the destroyed "equipment" they promised to inspect and report on? The entire process into the investigation of this horrible accident has been handled so poorly it's embarrassing to the CYC and all the other parties involved in the so-called "report." Maybe I am premature and a thorough report will be published soon. The fact that a thorough investigation that was PROMISED and not conducted is so inept I find it appalling. 

 

yeah - right..., on hearing about the body recovery, the RC should have immediately hopped in the car and met the ambulance at the morgue, or funeral home, to grab the PFD..., I can't believe they didn't think of that...

 

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2 hours ago, us7070 said:

 

yeah - right..., on hearing about the body recovery, the RC should have immediately hopped in the car and met the ambulance at the morgue, or funeral home, to grab the PFD..., I can't believe they didn't think of that...

 

Seemed to be a pretty important part of the accident - investigation. At what time/point would it have been appropriate for the RC to request the PDF? Keeping in mind, this is the single most important part of the investigation imho. 

Let me rephrase - if an accident like this was to, unfortunately, occur again, at what point would it be appropriate to ask, and how should a RC go about the retrieval process? 

 

We are all saddened by this tragic accident, we are also expecting the CYC to follow through on their statement to investigate the accident. That's all. I expected a report similar to WIngnuts, maybe that will be provided at some point. 

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it is not within the competence of yacht clubs to investigate deaths - accidental or otherwise.

33 minutes ago, LTR said:

at what point would it be appropriate to ask, and how should a RC go about the retrieval process? 

It seems like in this case, the destruction of the PFD was pretty quick after the recovery - which as i understand it was a week after the accident...

Is the RC/yacht club  supposed to be monitoring police radio  a week after the accident, waiting for the body to found?

The yacht club should not be rushing to collect anything that might be physical evidence in a trial - civil or criminal, or an official investigation. This is the responsibility of the _actual_, legally empowered, investigative agencies.

If you have a complaint about the lack of an investigation, or the failure to collect evidence, it should be lodged with the USCG, Marine Police, Coroners Office..., etc.

 

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8 minutes ago, us7070 said:

 

it is not within the competence of yacht clubs to investigate deaths - accidental or otherwise.

It seems like in this case, the destruction of the PFD was pretty quick after the recovery - which as i understand it was a week after the accident...

Is the RC/yacht club  supposed to be monitoring police radio  a week after the accident, waiting for the body to found?

The yacht club should not be rushing to collect anything that might be physical evidence in a trial - civil or criminal, or an official investigation. This is the responsibility of the _actual_, legally empowered, investigative agencies.

If you have a complaint about the lack of an investigation, or the failure to collect evidence, it should be lodged with the USCG, Marine Police, Coroners Office..., etc.

 

You are incorrect, it is within the scope of the CYC to investigate a death that occurred during one of their events. Whether it is their sole responsibility or their oversight of the process ( if it includes multiple agencies) they have an obligation and maybe even a legal one. Not my area of expertise but they certainly maintain and enforce strict regulations for the Mac race. Seems logical that this would be an accident to learn from and if necessary make changes to their existing guidelines to ensure the safety of all the racers.  

The body recovery was all over the local news. And again, if you think they should not be notified or monitoring events in this tragic accident is surprising. 

We obviously disagree with the expectations and timing of an investigation that was promised, I'm ok to agree to disagree. 

 

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3 hours ago, LTR said:

You are incorrect, it is within the scope of the CYC to investigate a death that occurred during one of their events. Whether it is their sole responsibility or their oversight of the process ( if it includes multiple agencies) they have an obligation and maybe even a legal one. Not my area of expertise but they certainly maintain and enforce strict regulations for the Mac race. Seems logical that this would be an accident to learn from and if necessary make changes to their existing guidelines to ensure the safety of all the racers.  

The body recovery was all over the local news. And again, if you think they should not be notified or monitoring events in this tragic accident is surprising. 

We obviously disagree with the expectations and timing of an investigation that was promised, I'm ok to agree to disagree. 

 

CYC does NOT have any kind of legal standing in terms of investigating the event - CYC may or may not have the ability to investigate.  CYC should absolutely do whatever it can to get to the bottom of this - BUT, as I mentioned no legal authority nor obligation to do so

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I am calling bullshit on that.

A funeral home is going to let an used CO2 cannister just go through the oven.

No chance.

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1 hour ago, Christian said:

CYC does NOT have any kind of legal standing in terms of investigating the event - CYC may or may not have the ability to investigate.  CYC should absolutely do whatever it can to get to the bottom of this - BUT, as I mentioned no legal authority nor obligation to do so

No doubt. But this applied also to the Wingnuts incident, which CYC thoroughly investigated by requesting that USS conduct an independent study, which they did. See it  here.   So I am really confused as to why CYC has not pursued the same course of action regarding this incident, especially after making statements to that effect. I would think that any loss-of-life incident would automatically prompt a full, thorough, and timely investigation by the OA regardless if mandated by law or if CYC has any legal responsibility. As we see in the Wingnuts report, the CG cooperated with the USS investigation even though there was no requirement to perform one of their own (not being a commercial vessel). I imagine that the CG, CPD, CFD would all cooperate with a USS-led CYC-driven investigation here.

As a former member of CYC I'm a bit ashamed by their lack of action on this. I would hate to think that the difference in response is due to the sole fact that the Wingnuts incident potentially exposed CYC's liability as the OA that approved the boat's suitability to enter the race, whereas in the current situation they feel no liability exposure? I'm normally not that cynical... but this just doesn't pass the smell test for me.

As for being able to recover the PFD - CYC knew on day 1 that there had been a potential problem with it and it could provide useful evidence. It is not inconceivable that CYC could have informed CPD, CG, Cook County Medical Exmainer's office, and CFD that preservation of the PFD as evidence even for an internal investigation, was important, and should be pursued in subsequent recovery efforts.  I can't imagine them not complying with this request.

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1 hour ago, lydia said:

I am calling bullshit on that.

A funeral home is going to let an used CO2 cannister just go through the oven.

No chance.

If they knew I’d agree, pretty sketchy if they did knowingly. But is it possible no one at the funeral home knew anything about PFD’s or how they work? 

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16 hours ago, JoeO said:

No doubt. But this applied also to the Wingnuts incident, which CYC thoroughly investigated by requesting that USS conduct an independent study, which they did. See it  here.   So I am really confused as to why CYC has not pursued the same course of action regarding this incident, especially after making statements to that effect. I would think that any loss-of-life incident would automatically prompt a full, thorough, and timely investigation by the OA regardless if mandated by law or if CYC has any legal responsibility. As we see in the Wingnuts report, the CG cooperated with the USS investigation even though there was no requirement to perform one of their own (not being a commercial vessel). I imagine that the CG, CPD, CFD would all cooperate with a USS-led CYC-driven investigation here.

As a former member of CYC I'm a bit ashamed by their lack of action on this. I would hate to think that the difference in response is due to the sole fact that the Wingnuts incident potentially exposed CYC's liability as the OA that approved the boat's suitability to enter the race, whereas in the current situation they feel no liability exposure? I'm normally not that cynical... but this just doesn't pass the smell test for me.

As for being able to recover the PFD - CYC knew on day 1 that there had been a potential problem with it and it could provide useful evidence. It is not inconceivable that CYC could have informed CPD, CG, Cook County Medical Exmainer's office, and CFD that preservation of the PFD as evidence even for an internal investigation, was important, and should be pursued in subsequent recovery efforts.  I can't imagine them not complying with this request.

I agree and hope that there is actually more going on at CYC and USS than we see.  If neither CYC nor USS are in fact investigating this I am thoroughly disappointed and pissed off.

 

My comment was only about the legal authority/obligation

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I find it bizarre that the PFD was destroyed, but never the less maybe it is a good thing. It doesn’t matter after the fact that the PFD didn’t activate. It could have failed for any number of reasons including operator error. I used to unscrew the CO2 cartridge sometimes on my old tablet style PFDs to prevent accidental activation from an old tablet before changing them. Or I removed the cartridge before flying. Will suing the manufacturer change anything for a possible defect? Or if it was operator error would that change anything? A defective PFD design would have showed up by now. What really matters is that each of us is responsible for our own safety while sailing. WE need to check that our PFD is is in top condition before any race with possible bad weather. WE need to make sure we stay on the boat, etc. Comments from those whose say don’t use inflatable PFD’s are in my mind just personel preference. If you want to wear a non inflatable go ahead.  I have sailed over 50,000 miles of off shore races and deliveries and I prefer an inflatable. Just wear one, any kind,  at night and in rough weather, or all the time which we did as crew on the Columbia 32 I did 10,000 miles on. Other racers whould sometimes laugh at us for having on our PFDs all the time. If you read my post in the other thread you would know I almost got washed off of an Andrews 70 while driving during a stormy Cabo race in daytime. Why wasn’t I clipped on? I don’t know? habit? most people don’t clip on in the day during bad weather. In any extended storm there IS going to side waves that hit the boat because the wind direction changes during the storm causing mixed waves. There’s a macho attitude among sailors about wearing PFDs and also about being clipped into the boat. An excellent example are some of the French solo sailors. Eric Taberly is one example. Comments about how good you can swim in foul weather gear are crazy. Yes when I was younger I would have been able to swim and get out of boots etc. Not now that I am older forget it. If you have on foul weather gear you should have on a PFD period. If the wind is up over 20 knots day or night it would be a good practice to be clipped in because side waves WILL happen. It’s not too hard to get used to being clipped in. Safety is also paramount for boat owners. A safe clipped in culture at night and in rough weather on the boat would be recommended.  That’s my take away. Be safe out there.” If it’s going to happen it’s going to happen out there.”

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I find it completely bizarre that they actually put a CO2 cartridge in the incinerator...also, if so many parties wanted the vest, according to the story, then how did it end up incinerated?  Just lack of communication?  That's too bad.   

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/09/28/malfunctioning-inflatable-vest-may-have-caused-sailors-death/

Per story:

What they concluded about Santarelli’s vest is that the CO2 cartridge inside the device that should have caused the vest to automatically inflate when it hit the water didn’t go off.

But there was evidence it did go off in the incinerator indicating it failed to work properly.

“Had it been discharged there would have been no explosion of the cylinder because there would have been no gas trapped in the cylinder.”

What was the brand name of the vest? The Chicago Yacht Club said it is trying to determine that through interviews. The organization won’t say publicly until they know for sure.

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I'm still completely befuddled someone put a CO2 cylinder in an incinerator. 

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2 hours ago, doghouse said:

I'm still completely befuddled someone put a CO2 cylinder in an incinerator. 

Maybe there was no CO2 Cylinder.

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3 hours ago, doghouse said:

I'm still completely befuddled someone put a CO2 cylinder in an incinerator. 

Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one at the funeral home knew anything about PFD’s much less if it had a CO2 cylinder. Sailors know that the CO2 cylinder is buried in the PFD, it’s not readily apparent and someone unfamiliar wouldn’t know to look. Furthermore, we don’t know the condition of the body, and the CO2 cylinder is so small it probably wouldn’t be a big deal.

Whether or not the PFD should have been recovered and examined is another matter, but not the funeral homes responsibility.

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2 hours ago, woodpecker said:

Maybe there was no CO2 Cylinder.

Paper said it exploded.

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1 hour ago, MidPack said:

Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one at the funeral home knew anything about PFD’s much less if it had a CO2 cylinder. Sailors know that the CO2 cylinder is buried in the PFD, it’s not readily apparent and someone unfamiliar wouldn’t know to look. Furthermore, we don’t know the condition of the body, and the CO2 cylinder is so small it probably wouldn’t be a big deal.

Whether or not the PFD should have been recovered and examined is another matter, but not the funeral homes responsibility.

I'm no funeral home expert but I have to believe that an incinerator operator is trained to check every crevice of whatever they are putting in there for precisely this reason.

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2 hours ago, doghouse said:

I'm no funeral home expert but I have to believe that an incinerator operator is trained to check every crevice of whatever they are putting in there for precisely this reason.

Not the incinerator operator. In my dad's case the body was moved from the hearse, to a cart, to the incinerator. The operator never looked into the "box" covering the body.

In a typical cremation I'd assume the funeral home does checking for oddities that would cause commotion.  Not sure what could have happened in the Chicago case. And anyway, how much of an explosion would a PFD sized canister cause?

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So when you get ashes back from a cremation it includes any clothing the deceased was wearing and the container the body was delivered in? Never thought that was the case. 

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From my discussions with the incinerator operator, the temperature is such (1500 F or more, I think) that most soft material is disintegrated. The ashes are mostly the bones. From the incinerator the material is placed into a smaller grinder that breaks down any larger bone pieces so you end up with the more consistent grain size.

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Press Release from CYC Pending on the incident. It’s been sent via email but It’s  not on their website or race to Mac yet so no link yet to share.

Full Release Below:

Chicago Yacht Club Launches Inquiry Into Auto-Inflate PFD Safety Following Imedi Incident

CHICAGO, October 1, 2018 -- Over the past two months, the Chicago Yacht Club (CYC) has investigated the death of Jon Santarelli, one of the crew members aboard Imedi, a TP52 sailboat racing in the 2018 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac.   

CYC formed a Safety Enhancement Committee to determine not only what occurred but also to derive the lessons learned for the future. The Committee includes members with extensive experience from the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Race to Mackinac, and will consult with external safety and marine experts, as well as US Sailing - the national governing body of the sport of sailing -- to further enhance its mission.   

To date, the Committee has obtained information from crew members on board Imedi, reviewed reports from nearby vessels who responded, and conducted meetings with the U.S. Coast Guard. What follows is a preliminary report of CYC's findings, which includes the failure of Santarelli's auto-inflate personal flotation device (PFD). 

BACKGROUND REGARDING INCIDENT 
On July 21, 2018, shortly after the Turbo Section Start of the 110th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Imedi was sailing upwind in winds in the range of 20-25 knots and short-period waves averaging six to eight feet.  

These conditions were uncomfortable but not uncommon - well within the experience of the crew on board Imedi that day - and certainly within the design parameters of the yacht itself.   

Immediately prior to going overboard, Santarelli was trimming a sail using lines near the aft-end of the yacht - behind the helm. Most of the crew was hiking (sitting on one side of the sailboat) on the windward rail.   

Due to the motion of the yacht in the short-period waves, Santarelli lost his footing on deck, slid under protective lifelines and off the back of the yacht.   

Santarelli was not clipped to the yacht with a tether, but was wearing an auto-inflatable PFD, designed with a hydrostatic trigger that would inflate a flotation bladder via a CO2 cartridge upon sustained submersion in water - a type of PFD commonly used by boaters worldwide. The PFD was also equipped with an AIS (Automatic Identification System) beacon. He was also wearing foul weather gear.   

Crew members on board Imedi observed Santarelli slide off the back of the yacht, immediately shouted "man overboard," assigned crew member observers to mark his position, and then performed a "quick-stop" maneuver in under one minute.   

Imedi was able to make three close approaches to Santarelli during which they observed that his PFD had not inflated. The team members threw additional flotation, which he was unable to reach. During the third approach, the crew observed him slip under the water and sadly not resurface.   

Based upon Imedi's navigational software, the duration of the immediate rescue effort and subsequent loss of Santarelli occurred in approximately six minutes. 

Eight nearby racing yachts, after seeing Imedi's rescue maneuvers and hearing distress calls on the radio, suspended racing to assist the search for Santarelli. Additional water and air support joined the search, including units from the Coast Guard, Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department, as well as numerous pleasure craft, searched until nightfall and then called off the rescue operation.   

The following day local authorities began the recovery efforts for Santarelli's body.

POST-RECOVERY INVESTIGATION 
Santarelli's body was recovered one week later, Saturday afternoon, July 28.  Upon being advised of the recovery, CYC promptly requested the Coast Guard to determine whether in fact he was wearing a PFD and whether it was operational. The Coast Guard advised CYC on Monday, July 30, based on their conversations with the Medical Examiner's Office, Santarelli was wearing his life vest but that it had not inflated.   

Less than two days later, on Wednesday, August 1, the Coast Guard notified CYC that it could not perform a full analysis of the vest because it had been incinerated without the Coast Guard's prior knowledge, but that the CO2 cartridge was still available for their review and in the possession of the Santarelli family. Neither CYC nor the Coast Guard was aware of any plans to dispose of the vest in any fashion.  

Based on the Coast Guard review of the cartridge, which it coordinated with the Santarelli family, the Coast Guard advised CYC that it did not appear that the cartridge had been triggered to inflate Santarelli's PFD and therefore the auto-inflate feature had not properly functioned.   

The Coast Guard and Chicago Police Department did not pursue further investigation as the incident was ruled an accident, and the cause of death ruled as a drowning. The Coast Guard has the authority to investigate commercial marine and recreational vessel accidents, and will generally defer recreational investigations to local jurisdictions. 

In this instance, the Coast Guard was prepared to provide an analysis of the life vest as had been requested by CYC and the Santarelli family, and in fact did so regarding the cartridge. Moreover, CYC was in constant contact with the Coast Guard as this incident and the recovery unfolded, and the Coast Guard has continued to provide valuable information regarding inflatable life vests to CYC. 

CYC has requested more information on the PFD from the Imedi team in order to conclusively identify the specific make and model of Santarelli's PFD. What CYC has learned so far is that his PFD did not have any readily apparent branding, unlike many inflatable PFDs on the market today. CYC is awaiting additional information to make a conclusive identification, however its inquiry regarding inflatable life vests as outlined below applies to all inflatable life vests, regardless of manufacturer. 

NEXT STEPS 
As a result of what it has learned, CYC has launched an inquiry into the safety of auto-inflate PFD's and their future use in offshore racing events.  

So far, CYC has met with the Coast Guard to review issues around maintenance procedures regarding inflatable PFDs, and training regarding the use of the manual back-up systems. CYC has also reviewed various statistical reports regarding the failure rates among inflatable PFDs. All of this information underscores the importance of proper maintenance and training of inflatable life vests.   

The inquiry also includes information provided by major manufacturers of auto-inflate PFDs and will factor in the information gathered over the past two months from the Imedi incident as well as independent reviews and tests, to evaluate certain parameters including the following:  

- The reliability of existing PFD auto-inflation technology to inflate vests
  upon contact with water as designed 
- The extent to which auto-inflate PFDs are maintained in accordance with
  manufacturer guidelines 
- The effectiveness of secondary and tertiary manual inflation techniques with
  existing auto-inflate PFDs.

The inquiry's goal is to present new solutions, guidelines, and education to both sailors and the greater boating community about the design, maintenance, and effectiveness of auto-inflate PFDs commonly used by boaters worldwide. 

Based upon the preliminary findings, CYC strongly urges all users of auto-inflate life vests to fully comply with all maintenance and use instructions provided by the manufacturer, including but not limited to those related to periodic inspection, re-arming and replacement.   

The sport of sailing impacts thousands of lives worldwide every day and while the Chicago Yacht Club, the crew members of Imedi, and Santarelli's family and friends continue to mourn the loss of an integral part of the Chicago sailing community, it is the sincere goal that the positive changes resulting from this CYC inquiry will have a lasting and profound impact on the sport Jon Santarelli loved so dearly.

TIMING

CYC will issue a comprehensive report in January 2019.


Media Inquiries: 
Laura Muma 
laura@lmprinc.com
+1 773.960.3960 
S: laura.muma

 

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9 minutes ago, Lightfoot said:

Press Release from CYC Pending on the incident. It’s been sent via email but It’s  not on their website or race to Mac yet so no link yet to share.

Full Release Below:

Chicago Yacht Club Launches Inquiry Into Auto-Inflate PFD Safety Following Imedi Incident

CHICAGO, October 1, 2018 -- Over the past two months, the Chicago Yacht Club (CYC) has investigated the death of Jon Santarelli, one of the crew members aboard Imedi, a TP52 sailboat racing in the 2018 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac.   

CYC formed a Safety Enhancement Committee to determine not only what occurred but also to derive the lessons learned for the future. The Committee includes members with extensive experience from the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Race to Mackinac, and will consult with external safety and marine experts, as well as US Sailing - the national governing body of the sport of sailing -- to further enhance its mission.   

To date, the Committee has obtained information from crew members on board Imedi, reviewed reports from nearby vessels who responded, and conducted meetings with the U.S. Coast Guard. What follows is a preliminary report of CYC's findings, which includes the failure of Santarelli's auto-inflate personal flotation device (PFD). 

BACKGROUND REGARDING INCIDENT 
On July 21, 2018, shortly after the Turbo Section Start of the 110th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Imedi was sailing upwind in winds in the range of 20-25 knots and short-period waves averaging six to eight feet.  

These conditions were uncomfortable but not uncommon - well within the experience of the crew on board Imedi that day - and certainly within the design parameters of the yacht itself.   

Immediately prior to going overboard, Santarelli was trimming a sail using lines near the aft-end of the yacht - behind the helm. Most of the crew was hiking (sitting on one side of the sailboat) on the windward rail.   

Due to the motion of the yacht in the short-period waves, Santarelli lost his footing on deck, slid under protective lifelines and off the back of the yacht.   

Santarelli was not clipped to the yacht with a tether, but was wearing an auto-inflatable PFD, designed with a hydrostatic trigger that would inflate a flotation bladder via a CO2 cartridge upon sustained submersion in water - a type of PFD commonly used by boaters worldwide. The PFD was also equipped with an AIS (Automatic Identification System) beacon. He was also wearing foul weather gear.   

Crew members on board Imedi observed Santarelli slide off the back of the yacht, immediately shouted "man overboard," assigned crew member observers to mark his position, and then performed a "quick-stop" maneuver in under one minute.   

Imedi was able to make three close approaches to Santarelli during which they observed that his PFD had not inflated. The team members threw additional flotation, which he was unable to reach. During the third approach, the crew observed him slip under the water and sadly not resurface.   

Based upon Imedi's navigational software, the duration of the immediate rescue effort and subsequent loss of Santarelli occurred in approximately six minutes. 

Eight nearby racing yachts, after seeing Imedi's rescue maneuvers and hearing distress calls on the radio, suspended racing to assist the search for Santarelli. Additional water and air support joined the search, including units from the Coast Guard, Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department, as well as numerous pleasure craft, searched until nightfall and then called off the rescue operation.   

The following day local authorities began the recovery efforts for Santarelli's body.

POST-RECOVERY INVESTIGATION 
Santarelli's body was recovered one week later, Saturday afternoon, July 28.  Upon being advised of the recovery, CYC promptly requested the Coast Guard to determine whether in fact he was wearing a PFD and whether it was operational. The Coast Guard advised CYC on Monday, July 30, based on their conversations with the Medical Examiner's Office, Santarelli was wearing his life vest but that it had not inflated.   

Less than two days later, on Wednesday, August 1, the Coast Guard notified CYC that it could not perform a full analysis of the vest because it had been incinerated without the Coast Guard's prior knowledge, but that the CO2 cartridge was still available for their review and in the possession of the Santarelli family. Neither CYC nor the Coast Guard was aware of any plans to dispose of the vest in any fashion.  

Based on the Coast Guard review of the cartridge, which it coordinated with the Santarelli family, the Coast Guard advised CYC that it did not appear that the cartridge had been triggered to inflate Santarelli's PFD and therefore the auto-inflate feature had not properly functioned.   

The Coast Guard and Chicago Police Department did not pursue further investigation as the incident was ruled an accident, and the cause of death ruled as a drowning. The Coast Guard has the authority to investigate commercial marine and recreational vessel accidents, and will generally defer recreational investigations to local jurisdictions. 

In this instance, the Coast Guard was prepared to provide an analysis of the life vest as had been requested by CYC and the Santarelli family, and in fact did so regarding the cartridge. Moreover, CYC was in constant contact with the Coast Guard as this incident and the recovery unfolded, and the Coast Guard has continued to provide valuable information regarding inflatable life vests to CYC. 

CYC has requested more information on the PFD from the Imedi team in order to conclusively identify the specific make and model of Santarelli's PFD. What CYC has learned so far is that his PFD did not have any readily apparent branding, unlike many inflatable PFDs on the market today. CYC is awaiting additional information to make a conclusive identification, however its inquiry regarding inflatable life vests as outlined below applies to all inflatable life vests, regardless of manufacturer. 

NEXT STEPS 
As a result of what it has learned, CYC has launched an inquiry into the safety of auto-inflate PFD's and their future use in offshore racing events.  

So far, CYC has met with the Coast Guard to review issues around maintenance procedures regarding inflatable PFDs, and training regarding the use of the manual back-up systems. CYC has also reviewed various statistical reports regarding the failure rates among inflatable PFDs. All of this information underscores the importance of proper maintenance and training of inflatable life vests.   

The inquiry also includes information provided by major manufacturers of auto-inflate PFDs and will factor in the information gathered over the past two months from the Imedi incident as well as independent reviews and tests, to evaluate certain parameters including the following:  

- The reliability of existing PFD auto-inflation technology to inflate vests
  upon contact with water as designed 
- The extent to which auto-inflate PFDs are maintained in accordance with
  manufacturer guidelines 
- The effectiveness of secondary and tertiary manual inflation techniques with
  existing auto-inflate PFDs.

The inquiry's goal is to present new solutions, guidelines, and education to both sailors and the greater boating community about the design, maintenance, and effectiveness of auto-inflate PFDs commonly used by boaters worldwide. 

Based upon the preliminary findings, CYC strongly urges all users of auto-inflate life vests to fully comply with all maintenance and use instructions provided by the manufacturer, including but not limited to those related to periodic inspection, re-arming and replacement.   

The sport of sailing impacts thousands of lives worldwide every day and while the Chicago Yacht Club, the crew members of Imedi, and Santarelli's family and friends continue to mourn the loss of an integral part of the Chicago sailing community, it is the sincere goal that the positive changes resulting from this CYC inquiry will have a lasting and profound impact on the sport Jon Santarelli loved so dearly.

TIMING

CYC will issue a comprehensive report in January 2019.


Media Inquiries: 
Laura Muma 
laura@lmprinc.com
+1 773.960.3960 
S: laura.muma

 

Thanks for posting that.  At least dispels some the rumors of what happened afterwards.

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I'm not really sure what people are lamenting here?

Once his body was recovered and the local authorities released it to the family because the cause of death was accidental drowning and there's no suspected malfeasance that gets prosecutors involved - what is the CYC supposed to to? It has no legal jurisdiction in the matter - the family probably made a very conscious decision to cremate him as soon as possible because... have you seen what happens to a corpse after a week in the water? 

There's a reason why hydrostatic systems have a backup (either pull to activate/blow to inflate) - there's no conspiracy here unless you're implying that the boat crew murdered him. 

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I always figured that I would be cremated naked so my remains would not be contaminated with foreign material.  Anybody from the funeral business here?

I will continue wearing my foam jacket.

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50 minutes ago, Fat Point Jack said:

I always figured that I would be cremated naked so my remains would not be contaminated with foreign material.  Anybody from the funeral business here?

I will continue wearing my foam jacket.

Sadly, the buoyancy requirements for offshore racing make foam PFD's impractical. These somewhat arbitrary regulations inhibit the development of affordable, maintenance free, and long lasting offshore foam PFD's. 

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37 minutes ago, C. Spackler said:

Sadly, the buoyancy requirements for offshore racing make foam PFD's impractical. These somewhat arbitrary regulations inhibit the development of affordable, maintenance free, and long lasting offshore foam PFD's. 

I hope one of the outcomes will be to allow us to wear foam dinghy style vests. I realize their limitations, but I'm a big fan of NOT relying on an inflatable PFD to work when most needed.

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5 hours ago, Miffy said:

I'm not really sure what people are lamenting here?

Once his body was recovered and the local authorities released it to the family because the cause of death was accidental drowning and there's no suspected malfeasance that gets prosecutors involved - what is the CYC supposed to to? It has no legal jurisdiction in the matter -

The CYC has an ethical commitment to the race for which THEY write the safety rules.....  They could have simply said 'we would like the opportunity to determine the cause of failure, so it doesn't happen again,' and shut the fuck up.  It's doubtful that any family... ANY family at all..... would disregard such a request knowing the lives that rely on the safety equipment that failed.

So... what's the CYC supposed to do, you ask?  

'Ask,' is the answer.

I'm 'lamenting' your laziness in wanting an answer.

Signed,

DG

A 15-year competitor in the CYC race to Mackinac

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5 hours ago, Miffy said:

There's a reason why hydrostatic systems have a backup (either pull to activate/blow to inflate) - there's no conspiracy here unless you're implying that the boat crew murdered him. 

Doesn’t that beg the question why didn’t the MOB manually activate the PFD? The report says he didn’t go under until Imedi’s third pass almost 6 minutes into the rescue attempt, and he would have realized his PFD had not inflated automatically. What am I missing?

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Incinerating a PFD seems nuts. It's not like T shirt and jeans. If a guy dies in a motorcycling accident to the burn the helmet with the body?

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4 minutes ago, NaptimeAgain said:

Incinerating a PFD seems nuts. It's not like T shirt and jeans. If a guy dies in a motorcycling accident to the burn the helmet with the body?

Agreed, wasn't there an autopsy?  It's not like the crematorium has a dress code.  

I can say with great certainty that there's never been a cremation where paper money or expensive jewelry was involved.  

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11 minutes ago, dickie greenleaf said:

The is CYC has ethical commitment the race for which THEY write the safety rules.....  They could have simply said 'we would like the opportunity to determine the cause of failure, so it doesn't happen again,' and shut the fuck up.  It's doubtful that any family... ANY family at all..... would disregard such a request knowing the lives that rely on the safety equipment that failed.

So... what's the CYC supposed to do, you ask?  

'Ask,' is the answer.

I'm 'lamenting' your laziness in wanting an answer.

Signed,

DG

A 15-year competitor in the CYC race to Mackinac

Is there a timeline of CYC's efforts that I'm missing? The facts seem sparsed and maybe I'm not understanding the situation with an American jurisdiction, but if the family/next of kin are making arrangements and the medical examiner/coast guard/local law enforcement are content releasing the body as is - what can the yacht club do to intersede? My experience limited as it is, families don't want to go thru a process with a body that's been in the water as long as it was. 

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2 minutes ago, Miffy said:

Is there a timeline of CYC's efforts that I'm missing? The facts seem sparsed and maybe I'm not understanding the situation with an American jurisdiction, but if the family/next of kin are making arrangements and the medical examiner/coast guard/local law enforcement are content releasing the body as is - what can the yacht club do to intersede? My experience limited as it is, families don't want to go thru a process with a body that's been in the water as long as it was. 

Simply put... they (the CYC) can just 'ask,' of which, it's doubtful that any family would say 'no thanks' to such a request.

Our sport is an incredibly small family, and knowing the passion of why we all do this race, it would be an easy 'ask' directed to a family that would most likely, and totally, understand on behalf of the racers.

From my perspective, I echo others, in saying my level of trust in these systems now has me second-guessing whether or not they'll work.  I found myself during Saturday evening of the race, pounding to windward in my full gear, saying (in my head)  'if this thing doesn't inflate, I'll be fucked' not knowing what had happened hours earlier.  I'm a small dude - 145 lbs - foam floatation is fine with me.  I'm truly upset at the thought that the CYC wouldn't have the foresight to approach the family and ask to examine the vest EVEN BEFORE the body was recovered.  A simple 'we are incredibly sorry, but we really want to get to the bottom of this by examining the vest' would have done the trick.  Fuck... I would have made the phone call myself on behalf of the 3,000 racers that rely on safe equipment.

DG

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My understanding is that Imedi sold last week and is going to Seattle. 

If the investigation needs to look over the boat, they better do it soon.

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37 minutes ago, dickie greenleaf said:

Simply put... they (the CYC) can just 'ask,' of which, it's doubtful that any family would say 'no thanks' to such a request.

Our sport is an incredibly small family, and knowing the passion of why we all do this race, it would be an easy 'ask' directed to a family that would most likely, and totally, understand on behalf of the racers.

From my perspective, I echo others, in saying my level of trust in these systems now has me second-guessing whether or not they'll work.  I found myself during Saturday evening of the race, pounding to windward in my full gear, saying (in my head)  'if this thing doesn't inflate, I'll be fucked' not knowing what had happened hours earlier.  I'm a small dude - 145 lbs - foam floatation is fine with me.  I'm truly upset at the thought that the CYC wouldn't have the foresight to approach the family and ask to examine the vest EVEN BEFORE the body was recovered.  A simple 'we are incredibly sorry, but we really want to get to the bottom of this by examining the vest' would have done the trick.  Fuck... I would have made the phone call myself on behalf of the 3,000 racers that rely on safe equipment.

DG

Do you have a timeline of events handy? Did the yacht club have knowledge of the recovery, the specific jurisdiction that found his body?

I don't know the particulars so I'm all ears re the specifics? But it seems to me, as an outsider, for it to be in horrible taste to contact the family BEFORE recovery to say "of course please let us have an opportunity to inspect his body and PFD If he is ever recovered" or to call daily to ask if he's been recovered. 

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" Santarelli's body was recovered one week later, Saturday afternoon, July 28.  Upon being advised of the recovery, CYC promptly requested the Coast Guard to determine whether in fact he was wearing a PFD and whether it was operational. The Coast Guard advised CYC on Monday, July 30, based on their conversations with the Medical Examiner's Office, Santarelli was wearing his life vest but that it had not inflated."

This is the point where CYC should have asked the CG to ask the ME to preserve the vest as evidence, for a subsequent investigation. Now CG could say "Not our place to ask, not a commercial accident, etc." Then CYC asks ME directly. ME could either then say "Sure, will do", or "We have to ask next of kin first". So then ask away, and as others have pointed out, permission would most likely have been forthcoming.

But since nothing like that occurred we are left with:

" Less than two days later, on Wednesday, August 1, the Coast Guard notified CYC that it could not perform a full analysis of the vest because it had been incinerated without the Coast Guard's prior knowledge, but that the CO2 cartridge was still available for their review and in the possession of the Santarelli family. Neither CYC nor the Coast Guard was aware of any plans to dispose of the vest in any fashion.   "

Presumably "Neither CYC nor the Coast Guard was aware of any plans to dispose of the vest " because neither CYC or CG thought to ask to preserve the vest. (It's highly doubtful that the family would have agreed to have it incinerated had they known that CYC/CG wanted to keep it.)

Looking at the exploded cylinder now will simply tell you that indeed the top section had not been punctured by the auto-inflate mechanism. There's no way to know WHY the AI mechanism did not work - the rest of the mechanism is now ash.

So we are left with CYC pursuing a generic statistical analysis of AI failures using primarily anecdotal evidence, followed by a recommendation to follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding maintenance and testing. Great. What CYC needs to do is have an internal review or assessment of the decision making process/actions that led to the failure to communicate the desire to preserve the PFD intact as evidence to the ME's office or family.

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1 hour ago, MidPack said:

Doesn’t that beg the question why didn’t the MOB manually activate the PFD? The report says he didn’t go under until Imedi’s third pass almost 6 minutes into the rescue attempt, and he would have realized his PFD had not inflated automatically. What am I missing?

A fifth hand story says that Jon was seen pulling on the manual inflator by the spotter. It's a very good question we'll never get an answer to.

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27 minutes ago, JoeO said:

" Santarelli's body was recovered one week later, Saturday afternoon, July 28.  Upon being advised of the recovery, CYC promptly requested the Coast Guard to determine whether in fact he was wearing a PFD and whether it was operational. The Coast Guard advised CYC on Monday, July 30, based on their conversations with the Medical Examiner's Office, Santarelli was wearing his life vest but that it had not inflated."

This is the point where CYC should have asked the CG to ask the ME to preserve the vest as evidence, for a subsequent investigation. Now CG could say "Not our place to ask, not a commercial accident, etc." Then CYC asks ME directly. ME could either then say "Sure, will do", or "We have to ask next of kin first". So then ask away, and as others have pointed out, permission would most likely have been forthcoming.

But since nothing like that occurred we are left with:

" Less than two days later, on Wednesday, August 1, the Coast Guard notified CYC that it could not perform a full analysis of the vest because it had been incinerated without the Coast Guard's prior knowledge, but that the CO2 cartridge was still available for their review and in the possession of the Santarelli family. Neither CYC nor the Coast Guard was aware of any plans to dispose of the vest in any fashion.   "

Presumably "Neither CYC nor the Coast Guard was aware of any plans to dispose of the vest " because neither CYC or CG thought to ask to preserve the vest. (It's highly doubtful that the family would have agreed to have it incinerated had they known that CYC/CG wanted to keep it.)

Looking at the exploded cylinder now will simply tell you that indeed the top section had not been punctured by the auto-inflate mechanism. There's no way to know WHY the AI mechanism did not work - the rest of the mechanism is now ash.

So we are left with CYC pursuing a generic statistical analysis of AI failures using primarily anecdotal evidence, followed by a recommendation to follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding maintenance and testing. Great. What CYC needs to do is have an internal review or assessment of the decision making process/actions that led to the failure to communicate the desire to preserve the PFD intact as evidence to the ME's office or family.

Might be a case of covering one's behind, but the impression I got from the club's statement was the coastguard and ME office had communication and there was some breakdown in communication there - in any case, it sounds like the local community has chatter - are you guys saying the PFD was the boat owner's and not the personal gear (which I would have assumed to be the case)? Any word from the boat owner and crew? Or are they taking some vow of silence?

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35 minutes ago, Miffy said:

....it seems to me, as an outsider, for it to be in horrible taste to contact the family BEFORE recovery to say "of course please let us have an opportunity to inspect his body and PFD If he is ever recovered" or to call daily to ask if he's been recovered. 

Not to me.  A straw poll in my household and in my family told me that such a request would be expected and, quite frankly, appreciated.  Common response in the house... 'we'd be offended if they DIDN'T ask about looking at the jacket....'

All this garbage is due to someone NOT asking ahead of time.  I'd rather ask, and it's doubtful that it would be held in bad taste.  

A 10-year old, given the facts and circumstances, would have most likely done a better job in preparing a list that needed to be done in advance of locating the body.  Prepare for the eventuality that the body would be found... get your ducks in a row.

DG

 

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1 hour ago, Miffy said:

Might be a case of covering one's behind, but the impression I got from the club's statement was the coastguard and ME office had communication and there was some breakdown in communication there

 

56 minutes ago, dickie greenleaf said:

A 10-year old, given the facts and circumstances, would have most likely done a better job in preparing a list that needed to be done in advance of locating the body.  Prepare for the eventuality that the body would be found... get your ducks in a row.

DG

 

Which is precisely why I think CYC now also needs to do an internal review of their process... as I said earlier, the ball got dropped. Need to know how/why, so it doesn't happen again.

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On 9/28/2018 at 6:31 PM, tweaker said:

A defective PFD design would have showed up by now.

The design pictured below is defective. Swedish maker of PFD’s,  Baltic, has had large problems with CO2-cannisters coming loose from normal wear. They have released an aftermarket band-aid, but it is hard to come by and require a torque wrench to mount. And frankly, I dont trust it cos it looks flimsy.

Last year a swedish worker was close to drowning while wearing an inflatable, non-inflating PFD and Swedish authorities investigated several brands and found that they all could come loose from normal usage. https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/norrbotten/varning-for-ogangat-i-vasten?gmenu=search&gsok=1

My 2 cents is on his cannister not being where it should be and then no pulling on the cord or working trigger mechanism will help. This defective design should be recalled by authorities.

57388713-1B07-4321-BC74-6F768F5127B0.jpeg