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Chicago-Mac/Meridian X MOB Recovery


CordRipper

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Saw the front page story today, Lucky Front, and am glad to hear that the sailor who went overboard from Meridian X was recovered, and that the crew from High Priority 2 are safe.

Wondering if anyone has more details on both recovery efforts. How did the Meridian X crew go over? What in place procedures worked? What didn't? What about the situation was unpredictable? What safety gear crew were wearing?...etc.

I've attended a few Safety-at-Sea seminars and am fortunate enough not to have been in a real MOB situation, or a capsize/turtle situation. Hoping to learn from these successful recoveries, not to second guess actions taken.

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The players involved will share the story.  It was an accident that could happen to any one of us.  Let them get home first.

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2 hours ago, Kack said:

The players involved will share the story.  It was an accident that could happen to any one of us.  Let them get home first.

The reason I'm asking these questions is exactly to your point, it was an accident that could happen to anyone. Hoping that when they do get home and have rested, they can share some insight/details so we can learn what worked in these particular situations

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2 hours ago, CordRipper said:

The reason I'm asking these questions is exactly to your point, it was an accident that could happen to anyone. Hoping that when they do get home and have rested, they can share some insight/details so we can learn what worked in these particular situations

We are working with several outlets to post the lessons learned here, will be out in the next week or so I imagine. And there are a lot of lessons, even with an experienced crew which includes a transatlantic veteran and SAS instructor. There's just not many people who have had to do this in real life.

 

Definitely tired and drained, stayed up last night to meet Aftershock at the dock to thank them for standing by with us. They displayed awesome seamanship, and would have definitely got Mark if we hadn't.

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4 minutes ago, doghouse said:

We are working with several outlets to post the lessons learned here, will be out in the next week or so I imagine. And there are a lot of lessons, even with an experienced crew which includes a transatlantic veteran and SAS instructor. There's just not many people who have had to do this in real life.

 

Definitely tired and drained, stayed up last night to meet Aftershock at the dock to thank them for standing by with us. They displayed awesome seamanship, and would have definitely got Mark if we hadn't.

Glad to hear it ended well.  Respect!

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Make and model on the strobe please? 

 

Also im thinking of packing a glow stick inside my best from now on in addition to the strobe. Yes it's active rather than passive safety gear but that extra layer of security sounds good. 

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2 hours ago, doghouse said:

We are working with several outlets to post the lessons learned here, will be out in the next week or so I imagine. And there are a lot of lessons, even with an experienced crew which includes a transatlantic veteran and SAS instructor. There's just not many people who have had to do this in real life.

 

Definitely tired and drained, stayed up last night to meet Aftershock at the dock to thank them for standing by with us. They displayed awesome seamanship, and would have definitely got Mark if we hadn't.

Glad all are OK. Sailed w/ Mark a few times w/Sanford... good guy, scary as shit to have this happen. I know the calibre of your crew... will be interested in hearing more from that vantage point. 

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2 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

thanks doghouse.  incredible relief that you pulled it off, looking forward to reading the lessons learned.

Cheers brother. Was the most intense thing I've ever dealt with, will be back with all we learned. Never want anyone else to have to deal with this.

2 hours ago, JoeO said:

Glad all are OK. Sailed w/ Mark a few times w/Sanford... good guy, scary as shit to have this happen. I know the calibre of your crew... will be interested in hearing more from that vantage point. 

Thanks Joe. We are so relieved, there's a lot to talk about.

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3 hours ago, Ret. B52 Pilot said:

Make and model on the strobe please? 

 

Also im thinking of packing a glow stick inside my best from now on in addition to the strobe. Yes it's active rather than passive safety gear but that extra layer of security sounds good. 

I'll get through all the details soon. He had an ACR C-light that failed.

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Just glad everyone's okay. The only real MOB recovery I've ever been a part of was on dead flat water in light air. Everything went by the book, but even that was terrifying. Nothing but respect for getting everyone home safe!  

B52: You're train of thought isn't wrong. I've always carried a glow stick on a string in addition to the strobe on my offshore harness. It's a 99 cent insurance policy. 

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2 hours ago, doghouse said:

I'll get through all the details soon. He had an ACR C-light that failed.

I have always been leery of my ACR C-Light.  It requires the user to manually twist the head of the strobe in a clockwise rotation in order to turn it on or test it.  Then you have to back it off until the light goes out.  But, if it is turned upside down or the battery giggled, then the strobe would go back on until it lost connection with the battery.  So I would back it off a little more to insure it did not go on accidentally and discharge the battery.  But, if you back it off too much, then the o-ring might be exposed and leak when immersed in water.

Therefore, I upgraded my strobe to an ACR Firefly 2 that has a magnetic, sliding on/off switch and no more "backing off."

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1 minute ago, Tronner said:

Not a Tri...but a Farr 400.  Big props to the crew and to the others that attempted to assist!

The front page link this thread about High Priority that flipped??!! Guess it's the wrong thread.

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24 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

I am not going to second guess...but this system was forecast and all were aware it was coming, it takes more that safety gear to be properly prepared. Any time a cold air mass and warm collide there will be havoc. Was a plan in place for when it arrived? and I don't mean reacting....all hands on deck as it seems it was near watch change....did they go through a verbal run down of this is what we will do. I have done a lot of ocean racing and made out very well reefing and going with a smaller head sail... change already made seeming the fool bobbing around going no where for 10 minutes until the shit hit the fan when we then left everyone in the dust as the scrambled around too late....t

That's not second guessing?

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22 hours ago, doghouse said:

We are working with several outlets to post the lessons learned here, will be out in the next week or so I imagine. And there are a lot of lessons, even with an experienced crew which includes a transatlantic veteran and SAS instructor. There's just not many people who have had to do this in real life.

 

Definitely tired and drained, stayed up last night to meet Aftershock at the dock to thank them for standing by with us. They displayed awesome seamanship, and would have definitely got Mark if we hadn't.

Respect.

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I can't imagine the feeling of those on the boat not knowing what they were going to find once they located the MOB (if they did) who clearly kept his head while in the water.  I'm sure his piloting experience helped in that regard.  I can only imagine the relief of all when he was back on the boat.  Dodged a bullet for sure and I am very glad this had a happy ending.   

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This is an eerily similar story to that of Wingnuts in the 2011 ChicagomMac, with a much better outcome.  That incident was played out in the following year's safety at sea seminars.  I was in a J109 2 miles away then, and the wind came from the same direction in pretty much the same place.  These microbursts are violent and sudden, so I'm not about to second-guess their actions.  Thanks for giving us the details so we can learn from this.

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34 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

I can't imagine the feeling of those on the boat not knowing what they were going to find once they located the MOB (if they did) who clearly kept his head while in the water.  I'm sure his piloting experience helped in that regard.  I can only imagine the relief of all when he was back on the boat.  Dodged a bullet for sure and I am very glad this had a happy ending.   

Civil pilots generally don't learn survival skills to this level. Indeed, with rare exception (Sully on the Hudson), water landings are not very survivable...

But since Mr. Wheeler lives in Virginia Beach makes me wonder if he is ex-USN. If so, then he very definitely had comprehensive water survival training. If he did in fact get that kind of training, then its arguably a major factor in the good outcome in this case...

 

050623-N-9698C-057-1024x731.jpg

 

 

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I'm a little confused by the scenario in the FP article. Sounds like he was getting ready to take the wheel on the port (high) side and got pulled to starboard by the wheel. Says he went over right by the runner winch, but was that high side or low side?

I also don't want to sound like I'm kibitzing but I think Mr. Wheeler would agree with a couple of lessons - an extra couple of seconds to buckle his PFD would have been really helpful, and an extra 10-15 seconds to clip in before coming on deck would have avoided the whole thing.

 

ex4.png

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On 7/18/2017 at 1:17 PM, doghouse said:

We are working with several outlets to post the lessons learned here, will be out in the next week or so I imagine. And there are a lot of lessons, even with an experienced crew which includes a transatlantic veteran and SAS instructor. There's just not many people who have had to do this in real life.

 

Definitely tired and drained, stayed up last night to meet Aftershock at the dock to thank them for standing by with us. They displayed awesome seamanship, and would have definitely got Mark if we hadn't.

Much RESPECT!!

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It would be really interesting to hear the same type of step by step description from the crew on the boat.   Who did what, when and how?  It sounds like they were able to get back in relatively short-order given the conditions.    And they got back to the right place.   So far, all we have heard was that they saw his light and heard the sounds when the engine was turned off.   MOB button?   MOM deployed?   I am sure there is a lot more to their story.   

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This might seem like a really dumb question, but what kind of whistle was used by the MOB?  I've put Fox 40 micros on all the PFDs on my 4KSB, but have yet to try them after a good dunking (full of water).

Will try that this weekend, with the full crew.

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6 hours ago, sidmon said:

 

Civil pilots generally don't learn survival skills to this level. Indeed, with rare exception (Sully on the Hudson), water landings are not very survivable...

But since Mr. Wheeler lives in Virginia Beach makes me wonder if he is ex-USN. If so, then he very definitely had comprehensive water survival training. If he did in fact get that kind of training, then its arguably a major factor in the good outcome in this case...

 

 

 

 

Ex F-14 pilot ...

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35 minutes ago, Expedition said:

Ex F-14 pilot ...

There you have it...

His ability to stay calm and focused (such as keeping spatial awareness based on where the thunderstorm was) was a function of the previous water survival training he received in the Navy. And that in turn was a major factor in his survival...

http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmotc/nsti/Pages/NASTPOverview.aspx

 

 

IMHO.

 

Regardless. Its Good for All this turned out well.

 

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having once been an MOB myself in similar conditions, i am watching this with interest.

Had the good fortune to meet this team at breakfast yesterday on the island- these guys are a class act and not short of experience offshore - for the record they were winning our class by a bunch before this incident.

my personal take away here is that we need to do a better job on our boat of making sure harnesses have lights that will work--the whistle saved this life but a better light woulda made things easier for the recovery.

let's figure out the most reliable light going forward, whistles are hard to hear when it's blowing 30+ and gnarly as it was this time.  it was a real shit fight out there no question, and not a masssive error is required to send a guy overboard!  it happens and it coulda been any of us for sure.  grateful for a good ending here.

 

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1 hour ago, 1sailor said:

having once been an MOB myself in similar conditions, i am watching this with interest.

Had the good fortune to meet this team at breakfast yesterday on the island- these guys are a class act and not short of experience offshore - for the record they were winning our class by a bunch before this incident.

my personal take away here is that we need to do a better job on our boat of making sure harnesses have lights that will work--the whistle saved this life but a better light woulda made things easier for the recovery.

let's figure out the most reliable light going forward, whistles are hard to hear when it's blowing 30+ and gnarly as it was this time.  it was a real shit fight out there no question, and not a masssive error is required to send a guy overboard!  it happens and it coulda been any of us for sure.  grateful for a good ending here.

 

Those are kind and deserving words about the Meridian gang. Completely agree. For what it's worth, I purchased (before the rac) a new yellow C-lite that is water activated. When I put my PFD on this evening it was clearly flashing and I can only assume that it started during the upwind rinse cycle Sunday morning. I pulled it out of my PFD and it's very bright. You can toggle it between two different rates of flash and constant light. I'll do some more testing on a periodic basis for reliability. 

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All this talk of strobes, PLBs etc is surely putting the cart before the horse.  The bloke shouldn't have gone overboard in the first place.  I usually sail double handed and losing someone over the side is my biggest fear.  I always adhere to RORC's recommendations.

Lifejacket and harness is worn when:

Between sunset and sunrise

When alone on deck

When reefed

When true wind speed it 25kts and above

When visibility is less than 1 mile.

Plus if it's at all dodgy.

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Someone else asked whether a MOM or DanBuoy was deployed and, if not, why not? My recollection is that the rules require the boat to have deployable MOB equipment - generally they come with a backup strobe in addition to the extra flotation. 

Secondly, why not a "quickstop"? Sailing away from the MOB to get the kite down in an orderly way seems somewhat secondary at night to staying close by. You could even get rid of the sail by letting all the lines and halyards go and have it fly away from the boat. Obviously a few boat buck$ of equipment loss, but cheap compared to the possible loss of life.

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We saw Mark at the club last night, it takes a lot of guts to put the word out, Mark and Doghouse and the boss will make sure you have the full story, (I am pretty sure they did not want to be on the FP).  We also saw a boat having a MOB drill...sigh...please folks...if you are going to have a MOB drill with a real person please....

1. DON'T EVER DO IT WITH A REAL PERSON, throw a kapok/horseshoe/orange brick/boat cushion over, or, designate a crewmember as the MOB and have them stand in the stern and have them critique the efforts of their buddies to save him. (XOs do this on Navy Ships - take a sailor walking down the hall during the day we are going to have MOB drills - we also had a kapok built "Oscar" for heaving overboard)

2. IF YOU MUST FREAKIN DO IT..THEN consider filing a notice to Mariners, contacting the USCG AUX to do it, and letting the MOBs next of kin know. 

- Put the MOB in a floatation device/wetsuit/Gumby suit (like SAS) - SAS did that in east river in march in 2014

- Ensure you are NOT doing it in the middle of the starting area for the Wed night race - other boats may not see you, and there may be beginner skippers out there, or someone may call the USCG and not realize you are having a drill.

- Have a safety boat AND safety observer on your boat with communications, ready to intervene if something goes wrong (like on your own boat with the mast falling down)

- Make sure your liability insurance is up to date so when your crewmember has a broken rib as u haul him aboard he can be treated, or you run over him and hit him with the boat and knock him out and he drowns

3. Instead consider doing the following:

-walk thru the drill while the boat is at the dock...what happens IF, who does WHAT, practice that before you go out and throw a horseshoe in the water such as: Who hits the MOB button? Who keeps the lookout and points to the MOB? Who releases the MOM/Life sling? Who sails the boat? Who drives the boat? (if you are in a race, do u want to stay in the race when you recover the MOB?) who contacts other boats for assistance/alerting on what channel?

-have a surprise safety inspection some wed night (beer can racing night) - who has their life preserver, how about the boat's life preservers? flares? etc.

- does everyone know how to enter a MOB on the chart plotter? call the USCG, activate the DSC on the VHF?

- ask how well everyone swims (like a fish/like a rock/like a Navy Seal? Any military training?)

-does your boat need a quick stop or a circle? Do your crews know the difference.

I have had MOBs in the Navy (at anchor with injuries, 5 am in middle of the sea, and 2 miles from VA Beach, first two recovered, 3rd off VA beach wasn't) and on my own boat (recovered, dropped out of race)

We are getting ready for night races this weekend, you might be too.  As you can see basics work, but you have to know the basics, and if you don't it gets ugly.

 

 

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maybe stupid question - why no AIS receiver on the boat? even if not mandatory for the race, its good practice for all crew to have transponder and receiver on boat

second question, why is it not mandatory for the race?

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sure - the first line of defense is not falling off the boat.., but because no person, and no system is perfect.., we have to have contingency plans.

I don't sail out there, and don't know the program.., but a Farr 400 is probably a reasonably well funded program. I think all sailors on a fast boat should have personal AIS, and obviously the boat needs a receiver. The personal AIS devices should be part of the boat gear. Ideally, they are installed in the PFD's, which are also part of the boat gear.., and set for auto-deploy. 

an AIS receiver adds only a tiny amount of weight to the boat.., and can use the VHF antenna. Apparently the boat didn't have a receiver.

AIS also improves safety when managing commercial traffic.., and could also help a boat in carrying out their responsibility to assist other boats in distress by making it easy too navigate to that boat - what if they transmit the boat name on a VHF distress call but they don't get off (or you don't hear) the coordinates?

From what I have read so far.., the main reason the found the MOB was because of his whistle.

Perhaps more will come out.., like someone activating MOB on a GPS.., but that hasn't been mentioned yet.

Was there a MOB button near the helm? Depending on what safety regs were in place for this race, it may have been a requirement...

 

 

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SER 4.2, required for all categories (including Near Shore):

"Annually, two-thirds of the boat's racing crew shall practice man-overboard procedures appropriate for the boat's size and speed. The practice shall consist of marking and returning to a position on the water, and demonstrating a method of hoisting a crewmember back on deck, or other consistent means of reboarding the crewmember."

I wonder how many boats are in compliance?

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7 hours ago, Whinging Pom said:

All this talk of strobes, PLBs etc is surely putting the cart before the horse.  The bloke shouldn't have gone overboard in the first place.  I usually sail double handed and losing someone over the side is my biggest fear.  I always adhere to RORC's recommendations.

No one should go overboard, and yet people do.  I don't think taking or discussing precautions to prevent MOB in the first place is reason to halt discussion on what to do if it happens anyway.

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1 hour ago, us7070 said:

From what I have read so far.., the main reason the found the MOB was because of his whistle.

Perhaps more will come out.., like someone activating MOB on a GPS.., but that hasn't been mentioned yet.

Was there a MOB button near the helm? Depending on what safety regs were in place for this race, it may have been a requirement...

 

 

The strobe failure is interesting, not what I would have counted on happening and it highlights your point about having contingency plans. When we roll at night I have the usual strobes, whistles, but I also hand out chem lights and tell the crew to stick one or two in their pockets - that is a habit I picked up in the army because all the technical solutions are subject to failure, chem lights, not so much. They are the robust KISS solution, and it's a lot easier to find a light at night on the water than hear a noise or get to a particular geocoord.  I've gotten eye rolls handing that stuff out and giving instructions, but for goodness sake, the cost of screwing up on that sort of safety basics is just too high.  This story gives me the willies.  Could have ended so much worse, glad all are safe and sound. 

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I was on a boat which was nearby when the MOB occurred.  We took part in attempting to locate the MOB.  Here are a few observations from an involved 3rd party:

I did not have the chance to speak to any of the Meridean crew on the island so I can't comment on what exactly occurred on their boat, but I assume they did hit the MOB button on their GPS because they repeatedly broadcast the exact lat / lon coordinates of where the MOB occurred over the radio while they were requesting assistance.  Their radio operator did a great job remaining calm was very clear and concise which made attempting to render assistance much easier.  He stayed on the radio with a new broadcast every few minutes updating as to that they had not recovered him, he was wearing a lifejacket, etc.. 

CH 16 was very chaotic because the tri which went over happened within a few moments of Meridean's broadcast.  A number of boats attempted to render assistance to the tri and were all transmitting on 16 at the same time.  The USCG was also on the radio attempting to sort out and respond to the two issues.  Some of the broadcasts from Meridian were not being received by the USCG and had to be relayed by other boats,

As for why no quick stop - a quick stop in those conditions, even a well executed one with a top crew, would probably have caused bigger problems and potentially have thrown others into the water as well. The boat would absolutely have rounded up during the maneuver. Even if crew was  tethered, the boat may very well have been dragging two crew members along the side with a big A kite flogging uncontrollably all while trying to turn the boat around and spot a MOB. 

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18 minutes ago, farr40 said:

I was on a boat which was nearby when the MOB occurred.  We took part in attempting to locate the MOB.  Here are a few observations from an involved 3rd party:

I did not have the chance to speak to any of the Meridean crew on the island so I can't comment on what exactly occurred on their boat, but I assume they did hit the MOB button on their GPS because they repeatedly broadcast the exact lat / lon coordinates of where the MOB occurred over the radio while they were requesting assistance.  Their radio operator did a great job remaining calm was very clear and concise which made attempting to render assistance much easier.  He stayed on the radio with a new broadcast every few minutes updating as to that they had not recovered him, he was wearing a lifejacket, etc.. 

CH 16 was very chaotic because the tri which went over happened within a few moments of Meridean's broadcast.  A number of boats attempted to render assistance to the tri and were all transmitting on 16 at the same time.  The USCG was also on the radio attempting to sort out and respond to the two issues.  Some of the broadcasts from Meridian were not being received by the USCG and had to be relayed by other boats,

As for why no quick stop - a quick stop in those conditions, even a well executed one with a top crew, would probably have caused bigger problems and potentially have thrown others into the water as well. The boat would absolutely have rounded up during the maneuver. Even if crew was  tethered, the boat may very well have been dragging two crew members along the side with a big A kite flogging uncontrollably all while trying to turn the boat around and spot a MOB. 

We were in the vicinity and you are absolutely correct about the chaotic channel 16 traffic. With multiple emergencies going on it was very difficult.  Much of the Meridian info was walked on as people were assuming the MOB was from High Priority.  Never did hear the coordinates of the Meridian MOB and I was listening carefully to determine if we should divert. What I have not seen here is that another boat Aftershock (Farr 395)  spotted and stayed with the MOB while Meridian worked their way back.   I remember thinking when I heard the word the MOB had been recovered that it was a freaking miracle in those conditions.    Congrats to all who participated in a remarkable recovery! 

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First off, respect to the Meridian team.  Well done.

With regard to the "quick stop" maneuver:  having sailed on a planing asymmetric boat, I think I would agree that a quick stop in those conditions would be hazardous to the boat (making MOB recovery much more difficult, obviously, if you've broken something on the boat) and could easily fling someone off.

Now having thought about it some, is there any validity to adding to the MOB playbook:

If on a fast asym boat, blow the tack line (ensure it has no stopper knot) with an MOB event

This would stream the asym back and to leeward, and slow the boat quickly but not suddenly.  Helm then turns into the wind to further stop the boat which also helps with the sail take-down.

Interested to hear what you all think.

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1 hour ago, farr40 said:

I was on a boat which was nearby when the MOB occurred.  We took part in attempting to locate the MOB.  Here are a few observations from an involved 3rd party:

I did not have the chance to speak to any of the Meridean crew on the island so I can't comment on what exactly occurred on their boat, but I assume they did hit the MOB button on their GPS because they repeatedly broadcast the exact lat / lon coordinates of where the MOB occurred over the radio while they were requesting assistance.  Their radio operator did a great job remaining calm was very clear and concise which made attempting to render assistance much easier.  He stayed on the radio with a new broadcast every few minutes updating as to that they had not recovered him, he was wearing a lifejacket, etc.. 

CH 16 was very chaotic because the tri which went over happened within a few moments of Meridean's broadcast.  A number of boats attempted to render assistance to the tri and were all transmitting on 16 at the same time.  The USCG was also on the radio attempting to sort out and respond to the two issues.  Some of the broadcasts from Meridian were not being received by the USCG and had to be relayed by other boats,

As for why no quick stop - a quick stop in those conditions, even a well executed one with a top crew, would probably have caused bigger problems and potentially have thrown others into the water as well. The boat would absolutely have rounded up during the maneuver. Even if crew was  tethered, the boat may very well have been dragging two crew members along the side with a big A kite flogging uncontrollably all while trying to turn the boat around and spot a MOB. 

Great post. Thank you. 

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13 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

Someone else asked whether a MOM or DanBuoy was deployed and, if not, why not? My recollection is that the rules require the boat to have deployable MOB equipment - generally they come with a backup strobe in addition to the extra flotation. 

Secondly, why not a "quickstop"? Sailing away from the MOB to get the kite down in an orderly way seems somewhat secondary at night to staying close by. You could even get rid of the sail by letting all the lines and halyards go and have it fly away from the boat. Obviously a few boat buck$ of equipment loss, but cheap compared to the possible loss of life.

A quickstop on a F400 when it's blowing 30?  Are you a complete tosser?

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7 hours ago, Christian said:

A quickstop on a F400 when it's blowing 30?  Are you a complete tosser?

I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking the same thing.  A quick stop on any boat during that time last Sunday morning would have been problematic.  Also blowing everything and letting the kite go could have fouled the prop.

 

 

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The whole situation is eerily similar to the Hans Horrevoets tragedy but with a happy ending.  I look forward to the story of what happened on the boat during the entire sequence following the moment he went overboard.

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Sounds like the crew did a great job based on the conditions and sea state.   Personal safety equipment shows it's metal and why we wear it in these incidents.

I can attest to the abruptness in that sudden blast of wind that swung 90 - 150 degrees.  It occurred on our boat without warning, no one ahead of us had been hit.  Of course we could see it build and we were 5 seconds late on the takedown.  We were preparing for a quick Whitbread strip and bam, we were mast in the water, rounding up.

I will say this about safety equipment and these are my personal sentiments based on observations of other injuries and wipeouts.  Tethers can be a life saver,...but also can cause serious damage and death.   I was clipped in and realized last second where my point was that I clipped into and had I not unclipped from what now became the leeward part of the boat as we rounded up,...not sure if I could have made it to the high side or a spot on the deck to not put me in the water. 

The classic analogy of riding a horse and getting bucked and having one of your legs still hung up in the stirrup was all I can picture and I have seen it happen and it can cause death.

Tethers save lives, but sometimes can cause them.

 

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If Wheeler had taken the time to buckle his harness, and presumably his PFD, and he had clipped his tether onto the boat, what were his chances of surviving being dragged along at 18 kts? I would posit not much. I am not at all familiar with an F400 so I have no idea where he likely would have clipped on in the cockpit area and how much of his tether would have been hanging over the side thru the lifelines. Depending on how he entered the water he might not have been able to release his tether or drag out a knife to cut it. Wheeler had his PFD set up to require manual inflation instead of auto-inflation, which, given the circumstances, was a good thing. If like many people, he had it set up for auto-inflation and launched through the lifeline and was tethered to the boat he would have had to fight his way though the inflated PFD to reach the tether release lanyard all the while being pounded by the 18 kt flood. People drown at much lower speeds when they are being dragged along in their harnesses and the energy involved goes up with the square of the speed.

There are a bunch of what-ifs there, but a lot of us have been in dicey situations on a boat and could have been tossed overboard if not for a lucky grab and a strong grip.

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Thank You for the quick personal write up on the accident. I emailed our BYC Mac crew links to the story, this thread  and to replace batteries in their over board lights and to test / learn to use them.

Things learned

1 check / test all personal safety equipment each race before the race starts.

2 close / connect all clips on pdfs before going on deck. Keep them closed at all times.

3 clip in first

4 when in the water # 1 inhale as little water with each breath as possible # 2 keep calm # 3 don't loose you light or whistle.

Any comments on how to do any these thing would be appreciated.

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Facebook post from one of the guys on Aftershock, who was the standby-boat and assisted in the rescue:

 

 

 added 4 new photos — at Torresen Marine, Inc..

July 19 at 9:18am · Muskegon · 
 

On my way to drop off our Skippers car at the Muskegon Yacht Club last night, I spotted the boat Meridian X loaded up and ready to head back to Virginia. Many coincidental events transpired early Sunday morning that will have a lasting effect on the crews of Meridian X and Aftershock. 
Around midnight a front came through. We rounded up and lost the spinnaker, at least most of it. We regained control of the boat and put a jib up. I gathered up what remained of our spinnaker, which amounted to a wad of nylon about the size of a basketball, and handed it below to Bill, the owner of Aftershock. After our wipeout, Bill thought it'd be wise to turn on our VHF and monitor channel 16. Things happened pretty fast after that.
-A Mayday call went out from Meridian X saying they had a man overboard. Bill couldn't make out what longitude they were reporting, but he relayed to my watch that we were at the same latitude. 
-A few minutes later, Jim Key noticed a boat coming directly toward us. They had no sails up and were under power. A guy on their bow yelled to us, "Man overboard!" 
-We heard a faint whistle so I tried to steer the boat in the direction of the sound. We took our jib down to slow the boat while we were searching.
-The tension on our boat was extremely high. We were all hoping the next whistle would be louder that the previous. 
-At about the same time the thought of never hearing his whistle again crossed my mind, Olivia spotted him. His defective strobe light flickered and caught her eye. We got lights on him which allowed Meridian X to power over and make the rescue.
-We hung around long enough to see him on deck, cheered, waved goodbye and continued racing toward Mackinac Island. They powered to Muskegon, left the boat there, and drove a rental car to Mackinac. They met us as soon as we hit the dock with a cooler full of beer and tears in their eyes. They weren't the only ones getting choked up!

We had a lot of questions about what happened on their boat that night/early morning. A lot of lessons were learned, or reinforced. They were going 18 knots with a spinnaker up when the boat "twitched" just enough to throw him over. He was just standing near the cockpit. They figured they covered 2 miles before they could stop the boat and power back on a reciprocal course (which just happened to be 180 degrees from the course we were sailing, unaware of the MOB). No Moon, pitch black, 3-6' waves with whitecaps, and you are looking for a head bobbing in the water 2 miles away. As anxious as we were, I can't even begin to imagine what they were going through!
He was in the water for one hour and six minutes. He wouldn't have survived if he wasn't wearing a pfd. His chances would have been slim if he didn't have a whistle.

I have a friend who says her number one rule is to "STAY ON THE BOAT!" If you break that #1 rule you might want to be wearing a pfd that has a loud whistle attached to it!

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First, thanks to the MOB for the write up on this. It's good that at least something positive came out of a scary situation. We can learn from it, see what works, and what doesn't. 

Second, is there a similar write up from the crew on board?  

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We all owe that Aftershock crew a handshake and bit of gratitude.  Raced against them for years in the J35.  Quality crew, owner, and know they wouldn't exhaust their search until sorting the whole thing out. 

I can just imagine the emotions seeing them on the island.  Bad situations sometimes come to a good end.  Cheers to all of you!

 

 

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9 hours ago, Christian said:

A quickstop on a F400 when it's blowing 30?  Are you a complete tosser?

Hmmm - not sure why you dived for the insults, but here's my thinking on it.

1. it took over an hour to get back in the dark

2. A guy's life was at risk the entire time

3. The crew are trying to save max $10K of sailing equipment by dousing nicely

4. In emergency situations, folks tend to revert to "usual thinking" because stress heightens the "fight or flight" response, which makes alternative thinking difficult

5. Absent the "quick stop", there is an option to blow the sheets, tack and then halyard and watch your kite fly off and away. No prop fouling.

If I have concerns about being able to go back for someone, all the knots come out of the lines. Sure, this is risky from a "winning the race" point of view because a clutch screw-up could have your gear fly away, but if someone goes into the water in the Gulf of the Farallons, I'd sacrifice my gear to make sure that I could turn back before they were out of sight. 

As a sport, I wonder whether we have all really thought-through the proper procedures when someone falls off a boat. Saving the gear and being shipshape and orderly is perfectly OK when life is not in danger, but when someone goes into the water at night, or in really big waves in cold water, getting back to them should be job #1. 

Maybe I am a tosser, but if you are ever lucky enough to sail on my boat, I 100% guarantee you that if you fall off, I won't think twice about throwing away $5K of gear to enhance the chance of your recovery.

 

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And, just in case my prior posts don't convey it clearly, I'm not as convinced as some people who are issuing "atta boys" to the crew for getting their man back. It looks to me as if they were very light on essential equipment (MOM box, tracking, working flashlights), poor on crew safety discipline (clipping in when coming on deck) and unable to prioritize during the critical moment.

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2 hours ago, 1sailor said:

After our wipeout, Bill thought it'd be wise to turn on our VHF and monitor channel 16.

firstly - good job rendering assistance.

but the statement above caught my eye...

From the USCG:  https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtWatch

Quote

In general, any vessel equipped with a VHF marine radiotelephone (whether voluntarily or required to) must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHz) whenever the radiotelephone is not being used to communicate.

Source: FCC 47 CFR §§ 80.148, 80.310, NTIA Manual 8.2.29.6.c(2)(e), ITU RR 31.18, 52.244

Additionally, most SI's require that all boats monitor 16 after the start, until the finish, when communication on a race channel may be briefly necessary.

If a boat were in the vicinity of another boat that required assistance, but didn't know about it, and sailed on by, because of a failure to monitor 16.., well, i don't know what would happen.., but I wouldn't want to find out either...

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51 minutes ago, us7070 said:

firstly - good job rendering assistance.

but the statement above caught my eye...

From the USCG:  https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtWatch

Additionally, most SI's require that all boats monitor 16 after the start, until the finish, when communication on a race channel may be briefly necessary.

If a boat were in the vicinity of another boat that required assistance, but didn't know about it, and sailed on by, because of a failure to monitor 16.., well, i don't know what would happen.., but I wouldn't want to find out either...

Not having your handheld on to 16 during such race,... that should be a penalty,...and a slap in the head to owner and watch captains.

 

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I think you break the CGs and the SIs rules you need a sit down in a room with  both the CG and the RC.

CYC SI 2017 Mac 

http://www.cycracetomackinac.com/assets/1/7/2017_Sailing_Instructions_CYC_RTM.pdf

 

14. CALL-IN & RADIO WATCH

  1. 14.1  Radio Watches in this section are in addition to the Federal requirements to continuously monitor VHF Channel 16. 

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I’d like to preface this by stating this is only one man’s perspective, mine and mine alone. As I said up thread, there will be a full article coming out that we are working on, will probably hit the shelves in a month. This is to give everyone a narrative of what transpired, and I think it will answer a lot of the questions I’ve seen posted here.

 

I am the bowman and boat captain for the Farr 400 Meridian X. Approximately 11:15pm on Saturday night I was off watch in the port quarter berth, when someone said they were asking for me on deck to get the A2 down, and I anticipated the wind must be building as the hull noise below was increasing. Halfway into my harness and gear I heard massive stomping on the deck to get up, which indicated it was getting bad rapidly so I rushed into my boots and threw on my pfd and went above just after Mark Wheeler who was running on deck for the all hands call as well. At this point everyone was on deck. Before going off watch, I had set the foredeck in the ready position for a quick drop, martin breaker on kite, drop line tied off, J3 lashed to foredeck, which is pretty standard practice in an offshore big boat. I made about three steps forward when the MOB call came. Mark had gone over the side as described by him in his letter. His light was initially spotted and followed. At the time I had no idea who it was. Luckily everyone was in the back of the boat for weight, and he was seen as he fell over and the call came immediately. Unfortunately, everyone was in the back of the boat, and I was solo upfront with the kite. The trimmer came to the pit and blew the tack, immediately tripping the breaker and freeing the kite. With no one else around I went straight past the mast and gather the kite foot until more hands made it forward and could help drag it down. It took around three minutes to get the kite completely off deck and attempt to turn back. As we came back up into the wind we were knocked over by a 45-50 knot gale and completely flattened for several minutes, ripping the staysail out of the furler and shredding it. Eventually the wind abated enough for us to turn back into the wind and begin sailing a reciprocal course, we estimate we were over 2 miles away at this point as we’d been traveling 18+ kts. A few of us wrestled the staysail pieces off the deck, and I had to use pliers to get the tack shackle off as it had distorted in the storm. We proceeded to clean up lines and continue our mayday broadcasts, with the skipper Sledd Shelhorse on the VHF and myself on the hand held.         

 

At this point we were actively looking for the strobe, not knowing it had failed. This led to a lot of wasted time, as there is a fleet of lights out there, and ended up being a huge distraction from getting back to where we needed to be. We realized that there was no light after probably 15 minutes of looking, and began working our way back up wind in a search pattern. We get the main down to hear better. This point was absolutely the most terrified and helpless I have ever felt in my life. I know the clock is ticking, and a person in the middle of Lake Michigan at midnight is beyond a needle in a haystack. The fact we were at the forward end of the fleet means a lot of other boats are coming through, but still crazy long odds. At this point we think we have heard a faint whistle, but was so far away we are having trouble knowing. We swing slightly to port, then one crew man calls out hard to starboard. As we come around, several of us definitely hear a whistle. We begin to motor, then pull back to listen and make course corrections. We see Aftershock coming at us and begin to hail them. They have apparently heard the whistle just before this, and their jib drops and spotlight immediately comes out. At this point, the whistle is very clear, and I absolutely know we are going to get him, it’s an intense moment, but in a positive way. We pick him up on spotlight rapidly and begin setting up for the grab. Our helmsman teaches heavy air sail handling and boat handling for Safety at Sea, so we are well versed in what is getting ready to happen. We set up about 30 degrees on the breeze, and grab him on the starboard side around the primaries, then fireman bucket brigade him down the side to the transom where it will be much easier to get him in the boat. We know after an hour in the water he won’t be able to assist. I get him at the back, get the lifesling on, and two of us haul him into the boat. A huge cheer erupts from Aftershock, which I will never forget. He is awake and cognitive at this time, which is good, though not really shaking which worries me. After getting him stripped and down below in blankets, he begins to shake which is a good sign and I know he will be ok. I am the only other one on the boat who does the navigation, so I go quickly below and start looking for harbors. We are almost due west of Muskegeon, at a range of ~34 miles, so we immediately head that way. I make some hot water for Mark, then climb on deck with the tablet to navigate us to port. Approximately two hours in Mark pokes his head up, and starts chatting, and huge amount of tension finally unwinds. We are gonna make it.

 

A lot of you guys have asked specific questions, and if I don’t answer them here, just let me know. As far as boat setup, the boat is prepared to the letter of the law on safety. We carried a MOM8, we have four locations to signal MOB, we checked all life jacket lights pre race. We did not have an AIS receiver, and we are absolutely installing one. Mark had a PLB, as did I, and that would have been a boon. I really hope they become required equipment, the cost versus benefit is laughable. As described above, the kite was set for an immediate drop which is best practice in any offshore event. Windquest had practically an identical situation as us minus losing someone overboard after getting caught with A2 up. They had minute plus knock down, but they were able to blow the kite and get the boat back up because they could release the tack. I don’t believe it’s a stupid question at all to ask about the quick stop (I bring up what we feel the max breeze for a quick stop in every prestart safety briefing, including this one), but it is absolutely not feasible in this breeze. The boat was knocked over with just the main up, you’d end up on your side with a bigger mess and possibly more people ejected off the boat. Our MOB buttons are on the tablet/computer, handheld GPS, GPS head unit below, and VHF radio. The MOB locations we have became very redundant as one went over the side with Mark, one nobody knew the location of the tablet other than Mark, one was triggered, the VHF, and the other was part of VHF chain, the Simrad. We were able to start spitting out coordinates over the VHF fortunately.  Our MOM did not get deployed immediately, we thought about deploying late, but felt it would be a distraction from getting back to his immediate vicinity.

 

The AIS receiver and placing MOB buttons in the reach of the helm are the two biggest hardware changes that are necessary, one to track, and one to get a quicker MOB target on the GPS. The bigger changes have to be procedural. We were properly set up for sail handling, which is critical and I can’t emphasize enough. If you get back footed trying to take down a 2000 SF  kite in a gale it could wrap you up for half an hour and cause more carnage in terms of boat and crew. The issue that needs to be drilled relentlessly is what was mentioned above, you have to practice with crew minus 1. In this case a critical component of our process went over the side, and it negatively impacted our ability to respond. It’s also critical to practice minus the bowman, and have the rest of the team be comfortable in getting the sails down in extreme conditions.

For crew, mandatory to carry a secondary light. As a bowman I have always carried a second light, as I’ve run through this very scenario in my head countless times. Everyone on the boat needs to as well. Whether it be glow sticks or strobes or torches, always have backup. A PLB is a good idea as well.

 

We are very fortunate to have gotten our man back. Mark and I have done thousands of miles together, in everything from dinghys to 52’s to Vipers to everything in between. I couldn’t imagine losing him, and implore everyone to take this seriously. Our crew collectively has Whitbreads, IACC sailing, Sydney Hobarts, Transatlantics, Newport Bermudas and countless Macs, among many others under our belt, and this is by far the most dangerous situation we have been a part of. The biggest challenge is that there is very few people with real world experience in dealing with it, so you have to rely on drilling relentlessly and strict adherence to best practices, along with gleaning all you can from people who have dealt with it. I hope this little bit is helpful to anyone who is reading.

 

 

Graham Garrenton

Aka - doghouse

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doghouse, thanks for the detailed report. I am light years away in terms of experience so every bit is useful.

What kind of clothing was Mark wearing? foul weather? drysuit? water temp? any comments on this?

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^^^^^^Thanks.  

Answered many of my questions.  A couple of quick questions.  I thought I read you punched the MOB into at least one of your (4) possible units.  Why on the return trip didn't you just rush back to that location to begin your search?  The initial search for the strobe and start/stop listening was certainly slower.  I may be missing something.  Second, did I read correctly that both people that navigate on the boat were off watch at the same time?  Again, I may have missed something but it seemed odd that you had to locate and plot a course to Muskegon.  I've been on boats where each crew member could have done that easily.   

It may not have been pleasant, but you and your crew now have some unique experience and I appreciate your being forthcoming to help others prep/plan for the worst.   

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20 minutes ago, sail(plane) said:

doghouse, thanks for the detailed report. I am light years away in terms of experience so every bit is useful.

What kind of clothing was Mark wearing? foul weather? drysuit? water temp? any comments on this?

 

He had on foul weather bottoms, fleece upper and lower. I think the water was about 60 or so, but you get some upwelling in these storms. It was not the Arctic, but you won't last overly long in it.

 

13 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

^^^^^^Thanks.  

Answered many of my questions.  A couple of quick questions.  I thought I read you punched the MOB into at least one of your (4) possible units.  Why on the return trip didn't you just rush back to that location to begin your search?  The initial search for the strobe and start/stop listening was certainly slower.  I may be missing something.  Second, did I read correctly that both people that navigate on the boat were off watch at the same time?  Again, I may have missed something but it seemed odd that you had to locate and plot a course to Muskegon.  I've been on boats where each crew member could have done that easily.   

It may not have been pleasant, but you and your crew now have some unique experience and I appreciate your being forthcoming to help others prep/plan for the worst.   

Thanks, I will do everything I can to answer any questions.

We were travelling so fast that by the time the MOB was triggered we covered a substantial distance. We had to get back further upwind, and he was steadily drifting downwind. We had to work up in a pattern from there. And as I mentioned the false light sightings were a big distraction, one thing we learned is we should have gone right back to where we thought we should be. Also, I think adding MOB buttons in cockpit that can be slapped quickly to increase the accuracy of the mark.

As far as the Nav, someone could have done it for sure, I just am the other person most familiar with the system and also had knowledge of the W. Michigan coast. I would have to go look at our watch schedule to see if we were technically "off" or not, but generally the bow and nav float, due to the nature of their jobs. Mark was off deck as there were no strategic calls to make at the time, and that's when the nav grabs a little rest.

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Update about High Priority 2 from Front Page a couple of days ago...

Jim Goempel
July 19 at 3:27pm · Chicago, IL · 
7/18/2017 High Priority 2 Update
A long day on the water, 13 hours later she is floating upside down at a commercial ship yard in Milwaukee. 2 boats and 4 able body seamen ; David (boat owner/skipper) myself, Pete and Gary from Tow Boat US were not able to right her 20 miles offshore in 400 feet of water. 
Carbon fiber mast is broken, code o damaged,screecher damaged, main, jib and spinnaker destroyed . 
Most of the sails and rigging were removed offshore. Some untangled, some cut way. 
Pete and I spent most of the morning in the water clearing lines , removing sails, rigging and what was left of the mast. David and Gary hoisted the gear aboard Petes trawler.
We made every effort possible per manufactures guide lines to right the Corsair 31 .
I believe it's possible but Pete exhausted his air supply and was unable to continue diving. Approximately 12 feet of mast and 3/4th of the main sail are still attached. With this much drag from below she will not flip back over when towed backwards.
So after 8 hours of towing her on her back, we will right High Priority2 in the a.m
 
 

20156040_1996593700366464_4251559471121818906_n.jpg

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Doghouse-

 

 Thanks for the amazing report, I will be honest given some of the initial reports I was skeptical of the reaction time.  I have to say from the sounds of it you guys did everything right, and my initial assumptions were all wrong.

 

One question, what is your martin breaker setup?  I have had some good results and some bad results with various set ups.

 

Thanks and Bravo Zulu

Cheese

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8 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

Hmmm - not sure why you dived for the insults, but here's my thinking on it.

1. it took over an hour to get back in the dark

2. A guy's life was at risk the entire time

3. The crew are trying to save max $10K of sailing equipment by dousing nicely

4. In emergency situations, folks tend to revert to "usual thinking" because stress heightens the "fight or flight" response, which makes alternative thinking difficult

5. Absent the "quick stop", there is an option to blow the sheets, tack and then halyard and watch your kite fly off and away. No prop fouling.

If I have concerns about being able to go back for someone, all the knots come out of the lines. Sure, this is risky from a "winning the race" point of view because a clutch screw-up could have your gear fly away, but if someone goes into the water in the Gulf of the Farallons, I'd sacrifice my gear to make sure that I could turn back before they were out of sight. 

As a sport, I wonder whether we have all really thought-through the proper procedures when someone falls off a boat. Saving the gear and being shipshape and orderly is perfectly OK when life is not in danger, but when someone goes into the water at night, or in really big waves in cold water, getting back to them should be job #1. 

Maybe I am a tosser, but if you are ever lucky enough to sail on my boat, I 100% guarantee you that if you fall off, I won't think twice about throwing away $5K of gear to enhance the chance of your recovery.

 

What you don't realize is that if they had attempted a quick stop under those conditions they would have had a fullblown yardsale and seriously endangering more crew members.  they would most likely have taken even longer to get back to the MOB as they would have been disabled and probably with more disabled crew.

A Farr 400 isn't exactly like a J105.  

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2 hours ago, doghouse said:

(I bring up what we feel the max breeze for a quick stop in every prestart safety briefing, including this one)

I think this is a great idea.  I've been on boats where quick stop was the only technique considered and in the conditions you were experiencing, a quick stop would have rendered us unable to recover ourselves, let alone the MOB.  Great tip.  

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30 minutes ago, Extra Cheese said:

Doghouse-

 

 Thanks for the amazing report, I will be honest given some of the initial reports I was skeptical of the reaction time.  I have to say from the sounds of it you guys did everything right, and my initial assumptions were all wrong.

 

One question, what is your martin breaker setup?  I have had some good results and some bad results with various set ups.

 

Thanks and Bravo Zulu

Cheese

Thanks Cheese, though we definitely didn't do everything right. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a plan for when the guy in charge of marking your position is the one that goes in.

 

The breaker setup on any retractable sprit is a royal pain to figure out. It's taken a lot of iterations and all of my mechanical engineering schooling to get one I like, but this one is pretty solid. I run the breaker line internally, with exits in front and rear of sprit and sprit case. There's a bungee take up inside, and larger bungee on the tack shackles for retrieval. I fasten them at the back of the sprit case to have them set. I'll take some pictures in the near future.

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Doghouse (Graham), having had a MOB situation during a Chi Mac a number of years ago on Nice Pair, though in relatively benign conditions, I can attest to what it is like on board, and commend you all for your seamanship and outstanding efforts.  This could have turned out entirely different had it not been for all of your experience.

Bruce Geffen

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Dog, you and your crew have always shown nothing but class in every event I've seen you at, and I commend you for keeping your head, doing a solid job, and sharing the experience - the positive and negative parts of it - with the wider community.  Thank you.

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Doghouse - i assume that when you talk about getting PLB's, you are talking abut getting personal AIS devices..., that's what i was recommending in my post above.

I think that for most crewed race boats, personal AIS devices are  a much better idea than personal EPIRB's - had your MOB had one, his location  would have been visible on the laptops and chartplotters of any AIS-equipped boat within a few miles. each display renders the distress icon differently.., but i think mostly they do something to distinguish the MOB from all the other boats.

You can do a self-test on the personal AIS, to see just what it will look like on your equipment - I did it with expedition - i forget exactly what it looked like, but it was different and fairly obvious. I took a screenshot, but i can't find it now. i recommend doing the test when you get them.

 

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8 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

I'll ask having sailed on many sprit multihulls, what is a Martin Breaker Setup? 

 

A Martin breaker is basically a remote trigger for the tack shackles. There are a few ways to do them, generally though you use a piece of small diameter line run through the shackle trigger and back to the bow where it's clipped off. Once the tack line is eased the breaker line tenses up and trips the shackle. 

 

56 minutes ago, us7070 said:

Doghouse - i assume that when you talk about getting PLB's, you are talking abut getting personal AIS devices..., that's what i was recommending in my post above.

I think that for most crewed race boats, personal AIS devices are  a much better idea than personal EPIRB's - had your MOB had one, his location  would have been visible on the laptops and chartplotters of any AIS-equipped boat within a few miles. each display renders the distress icon differently.., but i think mostly they do something to distinguish the MOB from all the other boats.

You can do a self-test on the personal AIS, to see just what it will look like on your equipment - I did it with expedition - i forget exactly what it looked like, but it was different and fairly obvious. I took a screenshot, but i can't find it now. i recommend doing the test when you get them.

 

Yes, personal AIS is what I am talking about. And I agree with you on the efficacy vis a vis personal EPIRB.

 

Two of us had them, Mark and myself as we have raced in events that required it and have been together on boats with AIS. I've tested mine as well.

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I cried at the point of your story when you got your guy back on the boat.  We all know full fucking well it coulda been any one of us over the side, and full fucking well how it could have changed for the worse for you guys.  I'm goddamn grateful it worked out OK.  I can't imagine the emotion before, during and after such events happening.  Thanks for any and all lessons learned in this incident. 

Take care,

Jim

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1 hour ago, doghouse said:

 

A Martin breaker is basically a remote trigger for the tack shackles. There are a few ways to do them, generally though you use a piece of small diameter line run through the shackle trigger and back to the bow where it's clipped off. Once the tack line is eased the breaker line tenses up and trips the shackle. 

 

Yes, personal AIS is what I am talking about. And I agree with you on the efficacy vis a vis personal EPIRB.

 

Two of us had them, Mark and myself as we have raced in events that required it and have been together on boats with AIS. I've tested mine as well.

Graham - you should try using the Tylaska made martin breakers (Tim calls them plug fids) - http://www.tylaska.com/index.php/fids/plug-fids/

I really like them and have found them to be superior to a line through the trigger.  Have used them on many boats including the F400 for our A to N race

Cheers,

 

C

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1 hour ago, Grinder said:

I cried at the point of your story when you got your guy back on the boat.  We all know full fucking well it coulda been any one of us over the side, and full fucking well how it could have changed for the worse for you guys.  I'm goddamn grateful it worked out OK.  I can't imagine the emotion before, during and after such events happening.  Thanks for any and all lessons learned in this incident. 

Take care,

Jim

 

Thanks Geff, Al and Jim and anyone else I missed. 

I choke up reading it back to myself.

 

13 minutes ago, Christian said:

Graham - you should try using the Tylaska made martin breakers (Tim calls them plug fids) - http://www.tylaska.com/index.php/fids/plug-fids/

I really like them and have found them to be superior to a line through the trigger.  Have used them on many boats including the F400 for our A to N race

Cheers,

 

C

Cheers C, hope we can get the boats together soon.

I still have some of them laying around, I prefer just a line as the plug fids have to be fitted at the bow or they will trigger as you drag the kite tack out of the hatch. Plus you still have a line to manage going up there. 

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51 minutes ago, doghouse said:

 

Thanks Geff, Al and Jim and anyone else I missed. 

I choke up reading it back to myself.

 

Cheers C, hope we can get the boats together soon.

I still have some of them laying around, I prefer just a line as the plug fids have to be fitted at the bow or they will trigger as you drag the kite tack out of the hatch. Plus you still have a line to manage going up there. 

Acknowledge the PITA in setting them up - no matter which way you go.  Have just found that the pull necessary to trigger the shackle is far less with the "plug fids" than a line through the trigger bail. 

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3 hours ago, Grinder said:

I cried at the point of your story when you got your guy back on the boat.  We all know full fucking well it coulda been any one of us over the side, and full fucking well how it could have changed for the worse for you guys.  I'm goddamn grateful it worked out OK.  I can't imagine the emotion before, during and after such events happening.  Thanks for any and all lessons learned in this incident. 

Take care,

Jim

+1.  I've been at this a long time....and have learned from the information shared here.  I was on a boat that was right in the middle of this too.  We endured a pretty violent round up, which I believe ironically helped us get our kite down.

I know a couple of the guys on the Meridian and can't imagine the emotional process all of you have endured.  Regardless of the 2nd guessing from some...the bottom line is the team was able to retrieve their guy.  

Thanks for sharing the details.  The information is extremely helpful.  

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Thank you for your openness and willingness to share your experience: what worked and what systems you'd change in the future.  I think we all can learn from this.  Words can't even begin to express how amazing it was that you were able to get him back aboard after being in the water for that long, at night, and in those conditions.  Great job.

 

Cheers.  

 

David

 

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That's a hell of a story. I was standing out on my deck watching that squall roll in thinking, "Someone's going to get it."

To those that say these things are well forecast etc., I've been watching that Lake for 45 years. You have no idea how fast these things can roll in.

It got me! One moment I'm out there watching the lightning to the north and south of me. The next minute I got bitchslapped and was running for the house.

It seems like about every 5 years, the Lake just jacks up the Mac fleet.

Drifter, drifter drifter...Then one year, kapow!

It's a scary but wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.

One more thing. I've seen plenty of night time SAR activity on the Lake. I've seen the CG helicopter circle for well over an hour before wrapping up a retrieval. I'd say that under the conditions and chain of events, this was executed about as quickly as possible. The positive outcome really tells the entire story.

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On 7/22/2017 at 10:20 AM, Christian said:

Acknowledge the PITA in setting them up - no matter which way you go.  Have just found that the pull necessary to trigger the shackle is far less with the "plug fids" than a line through the trigger bail. 

You shouldn't need to pull anything if you set it up right. Just blow the tackline and it takes care of itself...

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On 21/07/2017 at 11:48 PM, Wet Spreaders said:

Hmmm - not sure why you dived for the insults, but here's my thinking on it.

1. it took over an hour to get back in the dark

2. A guy's life was at risk the entire time

3. The crew are trying to save max $10K of sailing equipment by dousing nicely

4. In emergency situations, folks tend to revert to "usual thinking" because stress heightens the "fight or flight" response, which makes alternative thinking difficult

5. Absent the "quick stop", there is an option to blow the sheets, tack and then halyard and watch your kite fly off and away. No prop fouling.

If I have concerns about being able to go back for someone, all the knots come out of the lines. Sure, this is risky from a "winning the race" point of view because a clutch screw-up could have your gear fly away, but if someone goes into the water in the Gulf of the Farallons, I'd sacrifice my gear to make sure that I could turn back before they were out of sight. 

As a sport, I wonder whether we have all really thought-through the proper procedures when someone falls off a boat. Saving the gear and being shipshape and orderly is perfectly OK when life is not in danger, but when someone goes into the water at night, or in really big waves in cold water, getting back to them should be job #1. 

Maybe I am a tosser, but if you are ever lucky enough to sail on my boat, I 100% guarantee you that if you fall off, I won't think twice about throwing away $5K of gear to enhance the chance of your recovery.

 

Your `method' of blowing the gear may be faster but it has an inherent and unacceptable risk. If one or all those lines you've just run, foul before getting free of jammers, exits blocks etc you have a major clusterfuck with the boat on its side and a kite hauling you sideways from a distance in the middle of a squall at night.

Too risky.

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8 hours ago, Sarcoma said:

You shouldn't need to pull anything if you set it up right. Just blow the tackline and it takes care of itself...

Well duh - I am aware how it triggers - that is the whole point of rigging a martin breaker.  The PITA is to get it set up without having to go out on the pole after setting the kite and do it in a way where it doesn't get accidentally triggered as you set the kite.

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What's the motivation of a Martin Breaker, just to keep one more line from flailing along?  To anticipate a tack line that is fouled?  To keep the tack line rigged (i.e., easier to peel)?  Is there any option not to use the breaker to drop once it's set?  Again, I'm coming from ignorance as I have never used one.  Thanks in advance for any input.  I'm guessing the peel thing and on multis, we see dinosaurs more often.    

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Doghouse, et al: Much respect. Thank you for sharing. We all have a better chance at survival with your thoughtful analysis. The old days were like sex in the 60s. We never wore protection. Times have changed, and the boats are mostly faster.

Again, RESPECT.

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55 minutes ago, Christian said:

Well duh - I am aware how it triggers - that is the whole point of rigging a martin breaker.  The PITA is to get it set up without having to go out on the pole after setting the kite and do it in a way where it doesn't get accidentally triggered as you set the kite.

My bad, misunderstood what you were saying. I've found that a soft-shackle rigged through the trigger on a line that just leads straight to the pulpit works pretty well. Blow the tackline and the tack will fly out 4-8 feet until it reaches the end of the trigger line..pop. Have had yet to have this system fail me or trigger accidently. Not as elegant as some solutions but it works. 

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