Jump to content

PNW Race Week Accident...


Recommended Posts

From the unofficial noticeboard on Yachtscoring.com...

https://yachtscoring.com/notice_board_summary.cfm

"

22/Jun/2021 @ 10:55PM

MOB Today -

Dear competitors, I am sorry to share the news that we lost a teammate today. Greg Mueller on the crew of With Grace fell overboard. His feet were tangled in some lines which exacerbated the situation. Despite the efforts of many, Greg didn't recover. Please spend some extra time with your crews tomorrow refreshing your MOB protocols. My condolences to the With Grace skipler and crew, and to Greg's family.

Schelleen Rathkopf"

 

I have no further details, just came upon it on the yachtscoring webpage... either way it is a terrible tragedy. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is really tragic.  I sailed with Greg many times (both on my boat and others) and I'm still in shock.  He was a methodical and careful sailor and I'll miss seeing him on the water.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I met Greg maybe 15 years ago. Sailed with him a few times. He crewed on a *lot* of boats and was a solid skipper and tactician in his own right. This is very tragic news and a sobering reminder that this shit can happen to anyone. Greg was cautious and seamanlike in everything he did. He was active in the Washington Yacht Club (the student club at UW) and was dedicated to educating new sailors and giving newbs the opportunity to race. He will be missed. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

We were the closest yacht to "With Grace" as their situation developed, as we were waiting for the start of our next race.  These are our observations and may not represent what actually happened, but it is what we witnessed.

We saw a crewman being launched from the boat and saw him hit the water while the yacht was under full spinnaker in 12-15 knots of wind.  He landed on his back and was being towed feet first through the water for many minutes while tangled in lines.  His life vest was over his head, as was his T-shirt.  We immediately headed towards them to offer help, watching them try to stop the boat.  He was eventually brought to the transom with 4-5 people trying to get him onboard, while trying to keep his head above water.  It took forever, but he was finally brought onboard, and they began CPR immediately.  We heard someone say that they felt a heartbeat, which gave us hope.

Our skipper called the race committee asking for a power boat with first aid assistance.  That also took forever.  Another Anacortes friend helped to direct the power boat to the North shore of Guemes Island where an emergency crew from the fire department was waiting.  He was placed in the boat and CPR continued.  We saw that his face was blue and his mouth was foaming.  We were truly traumatized with what we witnessed.  I cried. . . damn.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, view at the front said:

He landed on his back and was being towed feet first through the water for many minutes while tangled in lines.  

His life vest was over his head, as was his T-shirt.  

We immediately headed towards them to offer help, watching them try to stop the boat. 

These are key statements.

The first thing taught in modern Crew Overboard education is the so-called Quick-Stop maneuver where the boat is stopped IMMEDIATELY regardless of which point of sail you might be on or which sails you might have up. The boat should be put immediately head-to-wind. This is where the boat failed, directly leading to the drowning.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I came here to say that Greg was a friend and I always enjoyed sailing with him. He was a laidback, competent guy, always happy to share and pitch in. 
 

I also want to note, because a lot of people might read this thread and this info might help someone else in the future, that it is my understanding that when someone is being drug by a sailboat— whether in tangled lines or on a long tether— the first priority for the person’s crew mates should be to cut the lines holding the MOB to the boat. This should happen immediately, even before the boat stops. Carrying a sharp emergency knife for such a situation is a good safety practice— I’d bet that Greg had his knife but couldn’t free himself due to the force of the water. 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Condolences from the Sweetwater Seas . . 

And it got me thinking. I'm really too old for the foredeck - with peripheral neuropathy I can't even feel my feet. 

I best resign from that role.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @view at the front for the account.

Much can be learned by this tragedy, but as @White Lightning2 said, let's save the armchair quarterbacking for later. There's no need to add to the trauma (or feelings of guilt) of those who were on the crew of With Grace, nor those who rendered assistance.

Greg will certainly be missed by many.

Fair winds and following seas.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

We accept this risk when we step onto a boat. In a perfect world of preparation, skill, and good judgement this kind of thing wouldn't happen --- but that's not the world we sail in. Nevertheless tragic and sad. My condolences to those affected. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Cristoforo said:

1. Nobody asked you 

I was merely trying to draw a lesson from the tragedy . . 

there must be others in a similar situation. 

They should be thinking about it too.  

Oh, almost forgot  . . . to flatulate in your general vicinity. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sharing a couple of pictures of Greg.  

May be an image of 1 person, boat racing, sailboat and outdoors 
taken by Krista S on Round the County 2016

<a href="http://offthecoastofballard.blogspot.com/2017/10/fall-regatta-2017-pictures.html">http://offthecoastofballard.blogspot.com/2017/10/fall-regatta-2017-pictures.html</a>
I think this one is from STYC Fall Regatta 2016 or 2017

Greg is at the mast in that photo, a really common place to find him in events across the PNW.

It would be great to see more photos and positive memories.

 

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you View At The Front for not only responding to the situation, but sharing the story. 
 

I don’t get it though. If you’re dragging someone, just crash stop the boat. If you destroy the kite, so be it.  I’d happily trash every sail on the boat to save a life.  I wasn’t there though, so I won’t judge. Maybe something else was going on. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Condolences to friends and family.

When the time comes maybe we can learn something new about safety from this incident. All accounts recall his competence and the care he took. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/24/2021 at 8:48 AM, AJ Oliver said:

Condolences from the Sweetwater Seas . . 

And it got me thinking. I'm really too old for the foredeck - with peripheral neuropathy I can't even feel my feet. 

I best resign from that role.  

This is not about you fuckwit.  

Truly sad to lose one of our brothers in the sailing world.  Condolences to skipper, crew and family.  It sounds like Greg was a great shipmate.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

very sad to hear/read about this. Condolences to friends and family.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear this. I had contacted the organizers about driving a mark-setting boat for this event, but was not needed. I feel awful for all those involved or who witnessed this tragedy and were unable to help. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A tragic event, condolences to his family and friends.  Excellent article that described exactly what happened.  I too am a bowman and got a spin sheet wrapped around my ankle but the trimmer saw it and released the sheet before I got pulled overboard.  One comment in the news article concerns me:

"Greg was a very key part of our team,” said crewmate [redacted]. “He knew exactly when the sail should be changed and what size to use. He could predict problems and gave us clear directions. There are a lot of lines that have to be led just perfectly. Most of us had no idea what he did; everything was done for us, and we really relied on him.”

It's better if the afterguard has some bow time under their belts so they know exactly what I'm doing.  I'll have unvetted trimmers/grinders rig the kite lines before the race and inspect and point out any mistakes.  It really helps everybody know the mechanics.  Concerning comms, if I'm issuing directions to the afterguard something's not right.  If all's going well a bowman's barks  at the upwind mark are usually only "Ready to hoist", "Made" and "Jib down".  During gybes the only directions are the helmsman calling "Trip" and the bowman calling "Made" when the new guy is in the jaws.

I don't mean to denigrate his crew at all,  many deaths have occurred at the highest racing levels  with professional crews.  Sadly swept overboard is high on the list.  I'd suggest a tribute Greg might like is a frank discussion of how this tragedy might have been ameliorated.   I've some further thoughts but will step back for a while concerned that I'll be accused of being a fuckwit.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg was the best shipmate one could ask for. I’ve known him for close to 15 years. We were both members of the Washington Yacht Club, (University of Washington’s student sailing club) and had joined around the same time. I first met him when I was taking one of the club boats to Duck Dodge (a popular beer can race in Seattle’s Lake Union) and needed somebody with spinnaker experience to help with the foredeck. I emailed the club list and he was first to respond, and I ended up racing with him almost every Tuesday evening for many years after that. He totally ruled the foredeck and helped us win many ducks. After a while, we switched and I ran the foredeck for him when he skippered. I didn’t rule the foredeck like he did but he still ruled the helm and tactics and we ended up winning even more. He and I also crewed together on many Puget Sound races for years, on Magic Button (Cal 39) and Stomp Dancer (Melges 32), but like it was mentioned earlier, he crewed on many more boats than that and used every opportunity to learn and become a better sailor. He contributed tremendously to the success of any boat he raced on. If a boat he is on didn’t do well that day, blame the skipper and rest of the crew because he always put his best foot forward. We also sailed dinghies together. One time we sailed a 505 to Blake Island and back with no issues and then we almost sank the same 505 the following week in a Duck Dodge. Everyone knows him as a sailor but he was also a great skier and a snowboarder, and equally competent in both. You could find him at Alpental doing the hardest double diamonds on any powder day in the winter. He was also an army veteran and used to be a tank driver, so he pretty much was a badass. Despite all that, he had very little ego and was one of the easiest going, laid-back people I’ve met in my life. He always tried to help and provide opportunities to new sailors and pretty much anyone who asked for help. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept close contact with him in the last 2.5 years because life and pandemic happened but we reconnected recently just 2 weeks before his passing and did a Duck Dodge together. Little did I know that would be the last time I’d see him. He told me he was going to help sail a friend’s boat back from Hawaii in a couple of weeks and was looking forward to it. He was a great human being all around and I feel very fortunate to have known him and will miss him dearly. One consolation I have is he passed away doing something he loved. Wherever he is, I hope there’s some good sailing/racing… 

Attached is a photo of him from one of the Duck Dodges on Rascal. The theme that evening was Bastille Day and Greg was always very creative about finding the best costumes and decorating the boat to match the theme of the evening. He designed the cardboard guillotine seen in the photo, attached it to our backstay and made it functional! (as in the cardboard blades would come down when the line is released and he would release a balloon with a smiley face on it while squirting ketchup from a bottle at the same time). I think the guillotine slowed us down that night so we didn’t place but we won a black duck for the best decorated boat. 

image.jpeg

  • Like 13
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

From email received yesterday:

 

An MOB Reflection

Four weeks ago today, a man fell overboard during Race 2 at Race Week, and sadly didn’t survive. His name was Gregory Paul Mueller, and he was new to the crew of the J120 with Grace. Despite the work of many who responded to the incident, Gregory never regained consciousness, and was pronounced dead on the shores of Guemes Island.

I haven’t talked publicly about the man overboard (MOB) accident, aside from a press release that I released shortly after the incident occurred. It has been a difficult event to process, and I believe that allowing for some time of reflection was necessary as a MOB has never been a part of my experience in sailboat racing before now. Gregory was on foredeck with the spinnaker full on a downwind leg of the race. He was seen with lines tangled around his ankles, and one of the crew noticed that he was leaning over to untangle these lines. Then he fell overboard with the lines still wrapped around his legs. The lines kept Gregory attached to the boat, dragging through the water before the boat was depowered and Gregory’s body was brought back to the boat. By this point, he was unconscious.

This we know.

From here, is where my mind races through all those things we don’t know. Did Gregory have a medical incident on board, such as a heart attack or stroke that caused him to fall overboard? Why didn’t the skipper sail head to wind to stop the boat? Why weren’t the lines cut that caused the drag through the water? The Skagit Valley Coroner’s Office has deemed Gregory’s death as an accidental drowning. But thankfully, they’re doing a full investigation involving pathology results to determine if Gregory had a medical event prior to the fall, or if there are any other explanations that help us know what might have happened. These results can take months, so in the meantime, we reflect and wait.

My thoughts have centered on three things: 1) Cold shock,  2) Importance of a PDF, and 3) what I, as a sailboat race event producer could ever do to minimize the chances of a death occurring on the course.

We hear about MOB drills all the time. We may have even participated in a class or workshop where we worked as a team in a very controlled setting to practice picking up someone who has fallen overboard. But I think we need to spend more time educating ourselves about what we can expect if it is us that goes overboard, and talk to our crews every single time we board a boat what are jobs would be ‘if’ a MOB happens. Everyone should have a job assigned to them so that when the stress and adrenaline kicks up, and the chaos abounds, everyone is clear what their function is in the event. What the MOB and the crew does in the first 120 seconds before help can arrive is the most critical because of what is called, ‘Cold Shock”, when someone drops into water under 60 degrees (like Puget Sound). You could have a fleet of first responders on a race course, and the outcome would be the same. It’s why skippers must take the sole responsibility of their crew who are offshore, as these are the inherent risks that are accepted in the sport of sailboat racing.

Falling into cold water provokes an immediate gasp reflex. If your head is under water, you'd inhale water instead of air. Initial shock can cause panic, hyperventilation, and increase heart rate leading to a heart-attack. This stage typically lasts less than a minute, and at this point the person should concentrate on just staying afloat with their head above water until this shock passes (and it does pass). My hope is anyone who ventures out on a boat is acutely aware of Cold Shock before they leave the dock. The message is clear: “If you fall overboard, remember what Cold Shock is, and remind yourself that you will be OK if you can just force yourself to relax, and get through the first minute with your head above water. At this time, don’t try and swim, just keep your head above water. Try and relax and float on your back to catch your breath, then try to get hold of something that will help you float.”

The bottom line, don’t panic, and keep your head up. Studies show that most victims who fall overboard never make it to a hypothermic stage since 75% of individuals succumb and die in the earlier stages of Cold Shock immersion.

Next, I think a MOB discussion should happen with the entire crew before the boat leaves the dock. When someone screams, “Man Overboard!” everyone on the crew should have a handle of what their job should be, and one person who knows everyone’s jobs should act as the alternate and take on the job of the person who has fallen overboard. I’m in no way a MOB expert, but these are some of the jobs that I think are important (and should be executed immediately) following the MOB alert:

Spotter: the person who looks only at the victim during the ordeal and never loses sight.

Thrower: the person who throws floatable cushions, LifeRing, or anything that floats off the boat

Skipper: the person who moves the boat instantly head to wind to stop the boat

Radio: the person who goes to the radio to hail the Race Committee on the fleet channel that there has been an incident

Caller: the person who calls ‘911’ and reports the incident immediately to emergency medical services

Cutter: the person who cuts any lines, sails, that may cause dragging

Assister: the person who stays with the victim when transferred to shore for medical attention

Documenter: the person who is taking photos of the MOB incident and using photo time stamp, video, live commentary to record the event

I have to say, after many sleepless nights, these are the roles I have deemed most important on a boat. Mind you, every boat is different, and every boat has varying numbers of crew. But that is why it is so critical that the conversation happen every time a new crew assembles, and before leaving the dock so that the first critical 120 seconds of the MOB incident are covered. Having crews discuss it in advance will diminish the fatalities that come from crew falling overboard.

In this incident, I’m very proud of the immediate response of our Race Committee. In this setting, (versus being hundreds of miles offshore in the middle of the ocean), there are not only other racers nearby to assist in a MOB incident, but there are also power boats on the course that make up the Race Committee fleet. But this incident cast a new light on just how little we know about the crews on board the boats that are racing in our events, and going forward I think this deserves some attention. Here are a couple of new things I’m considering adding to Race Week planning going forward:

1. Skippers may be asked to register their crews on the registration platform so that crew can be easily identified and next of kin can be easily notified in the event of an accident.

2. Skippers may be required to go over the above personal and crew MOB safety protocols with their crews prior to the participation in Race Week.

3. Skippers may be required to keep a crew log so that in the event of an emergency, the Organizing Authority can reach family members in the event of an emergency.

4. We'll maintain our fleet of judge, umpire, mark set, start and finish boats on the course so that there are resources available to assist when called.

Anyone who ventures away from the shore recognizes the dangers and risks involved. My desire is to not keep people from the fun of sailboat racing, but to remind everyone that we can do better when it comes to safety practices that can help limit fatalities should a MOB happen on our watch. Please spend some extra time with your crews and each other refreshing your MOB protocols. My condolences to the with Grace team, and to Gregory Mueller’s family.
 
Schelleen Rathkopf

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm skeptical of the notion that acclimatization can prevent cold shock, because I don't see mariners in cold water locations enjoying a bracing swim very much in the same water they navigate in. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, fastyacht said:

Cold shock is an issue butvwhere did that statistic come from? Also, no discussion of acclimatization? That prevents cold shock risks to a large extent.

 

I suffered a cold shock episode sailing on Lake Cayuga (Ithaca, NY) in February after a capsize.  One huge, involuntary gasp when the water got under my foulies and then multiple, involuntary diaphragm spasms.  But my head was above water and I got my breathing under control after 20 seconds or so and was able to reach up and grab the dinghy and get dragged aboard.  

The Lake Cayuga surface water temperature was around 40° or less.  My temperature gauge is:  We drove a whaler around the race course to break up the skim ice before sailing.   Was I acclimatized?  A couple of weeks earlier we had been playing touch football in shirtsleeves on the quad on a brilliant sunny day when the air temperature was -5°.  I think I was acclimatized.

I've been part of 7 MOBs, and fallen in myself a couple of times, in the Salish Sea where the water temperature ranges from 54° to 58° typically.  I've never experienced or heard of anything like the Lake Cayuga spasms in Puget Sound.  Those Cayuga spasms could easily have drowned me if I'd been head down. 

I doubt, but we will see, if cold shock was an issue at Anacortes RW.  During one race delay, people were swimming around their boats - this is the PNW after all.  

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a friend with a family cabin next to the Whitakers on Johns Island.  She remembers Big Jim standing chest deep in the water for "hours" acclimatizing for his Everest climb.  He oughta know a thing or two.  When out cruising Puget Sound on a sunny day and after we are anchored I jump off the boat to clean off the days sweat.  In the back of my mind I've always vaguely felt that another benefit of this is to be accustomed to an inadvertent dunking/mob.  I do this in icy mountain lakes on multiday trips too.  Even on multiday ski tours I often take a snow bath after the day's exertions.  I hate going to bed sticky.  I think you can definitely acclimatize to reduce the effect of cold shock, if not physiologically then certainly mentally.  I have no medical basis for this. 

It would be interesting to explore the evolutionary basis for this cold shock reaction.  I wonder if its related to babies able to hold their breath under water by first blowing at their mouth.  I remember doing this with our babies at the pool, but that was a long time ago.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Danceswithoctopus said:

Documenter: the person who is taking photos of the MOB incident and using photo time stamp, video, live commentary to record the event

If you think one of the key roles during an incident like this is to take photos, then you have learned very little from this tragedy.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Salona said:

If you think one of the key roles during an incident like this is to take photos, then you have learned very little from this tragedy.

That struck me also. Seems like a bureaucratic CYA response.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ropetrick said:

That struck me also. Seems like a bureaucratic CYA response.

Disagree. She put it last. Eighth position listed. In this era of everyone recording everything, if you have enough crew its would seem a valuable tool to have. No different than a GoPro on the stern rail. 

I thought it was an honest attempt to address and advise on a situation that had more questions than answers, knowing that there will never be a way to undo what has happened. All we can do is take as much information possible and move forward, trying to learn from the mistakes and prevent another tragedy.

 I appreciate her response.

 

WL

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be unable to use a camera in that situation. I would be ready to help if not already doing so. My god, that was weird.

As for cold shock, Left's recollections are important. I have gone in fully into 39 degree water twice--with no dry or wetsuit. I spent a whole day racing a laser in 25+ in that water. The first gybe capsize that day I went in to windward fully and yes the gasp. Also no feeling below hte knees when I finished sailing that day. I had a break after the gybe capsize--had to go in dry off reclothe go back out.

Another day also rolled into windward 25-30 broke a board. The gasping / panting is VERY seared into my memory. We quickly righted the boat (even without a board! Adrenaline, man!) and went right to work lowered sail, anchor out, "god this water is COLD" stood up crouching on the seats and started bailing.

If your head is underwater, seems a bad thing.

Coldest water ever gone into not sailing but skiing. Slipped on a bank right into a tidal river with 2 feet of ice. Went between bank and ice. water frozen saltwater so what? 29F?  THAT was SO COLD there is NO COMPARISON to 39! Instant electric shock total muscle spazm lockup in the left leg. Thank god right leg didn't go all the way down or I would have been finished.

Oh and 55 degrees? Freaking NOTHING. OK you get cold. But I've sailed all day in the James in 55 with foulies and wool in a laser. I could feel my feet at the end of the day. No panting or gasping.

Oh yeah, forgot about all the flyfishing misadeventures....some of them in January falling into tidal water, others in frozen freshwater, yeah, that was a bit of a shock....Ive lost count on those. Probably aught to stop that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

But what leaves me flummoxed in this particular tragedy is the not stopping the boat. Reading the latest, I don't see spinnaker sheet around his leg but some other line. Like, what? Blow the goddam corners o the sail and head up! I really really do not get this. I really do think perhaps we all aught to take practicing that sort of thing seriously. Would I have the presence of mind to blow and turn? Well, yes. You know why I know? Because I've been in a similar emergency, being driven over an overfall by an incompetent helm on the on-watch. Come on deck, "what! BLOW THE HALYARD!" two of us ran to foredeck did that and frantically pulled the sail in over the pulpit before it hit the water.

Getting the sail out of power NOW when shit happens needs to be IMMEDIATE and INSTINCTUAL.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, White Lightning2 said:

Disagree. She put it last. Eighth position listed. In this era of everyone recording everything, if you have enough crew its would seem a valuable tool to have

Are you fucking serious?  You would rather your crew photograph than try to cut lines or haul them back aboard?

You must be the dumbest person ever to set foot on a boat.  Please go back to Sailboat LARPing.

 

 

  • Downvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Salona said:

Are you fucking serious?  You would rather your crew photograph than try to cut lines or haul them back aboard?

You must be the dumbest person ever to set foot on a boat.  Please go back to Sailboat LARPing.

 

 

Sigh........

 

WL

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, White Lightning2 said:

Disagree. She put it last. Eighth position listed. In this era of everyone recording everything, if you have enough crew its would seem a valuable tool to have. No different than a GoPro on the stern rail. 

I thought it was an honest attempt to address and advise on a situation that had more questions than answers, knowing that there will never be a way to undo what has happened. All we can do is take as much information possible and move forward, trying to learn from the mistakes and prevent another tragedy.

 I appreciate her response.

 

WL

Most of the points were valid.

Taking pictures was dumb.

And that dumb idea was what I spoke to.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes,  including the photographer 8 jobs listed,  probably 4 full time, "radio" & "caller" could be the same person & "cutter" shouldn't take long,  "assister's" job doesn't start until MOB is back.

But only one of these 8 is actually sailing the boat,  "skipper".

Even once the boat is head to wind there are things to be done to keep control of the boat which will require extra crew,  how many depends on the size of boat and conditions.

How many of you sail with a crew big enough to cover all of this?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

that email list makes my brain hurt.

always good to know the roles of who does what in a MOB, but don't freaking assign them individually in advance.

"sorry guys, I didn't start cutting because the skipper assigned be to be the radio person "

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, bloodshot said:

"sorry guys, I didn't start cutting because the skipper assigned be to be the radio person "

....or the assigned cutter went in the water.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TUBBY said:

Yes,  including the photographer 8 jobs listed,  probably 4 full time, "radio" & "caller" could be the same person & "cutter" shouldn't take long,  "assister's" job doesn't start until MOB is back.

But only one of these 8 is actually sailing the boat,  "skipper".

Even once the boat is head to wind there are things to be done to keep control of the boat which will require extra crew,  how many depends on the size of boat and conditions.

How many of you sail with a crew big enough to cover all of this?

The list didn't say they were individual jobs, or assume there was an 8 person crew.  That list is what jobs need to be assigned and need to be done by someone no matter what size crew, with documenter very much the last one. Yes, It is the odd job out.  Probably should be deleted or moved to an "optional extra" list.  

The hardest job is "spotter", as so much else needs to be done and there are so many distractions, and that one needs unbroken concentration.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, ropetrick said:

Most of the points were valid.

Taking pictures was dumb.

And that dumb idea was what I spoke to.

Taking pictures is not "dumb".  It is simply of (much) lower priority than the other tasks:  Like being Number 8 on a list of things to do.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fastyacht said:

...or..."I'm only here to take instagram pics"

This is a topic that has come up before.

During the filming of "Blue Water, White Death" (1971) which was a documentary "Cinema Verite" and came out 4 years before "Jaws" (1975). Jaws pretty much stole BWWD's poster art.

There was a shark attack (their equivalent of the MOB) and it was almost all captured on film. At one point someone screams at the cameraman, [paraphrased] "Put down the camera and help!!" The next day, after the danger is over and everyone has calmed down, there is a full crew meeting about that specific aspect of the incident -- the involvement of the film crew in dangerous situations. The analogy breaks down because we're comparing a professional film crew versus an ad hoc assignment, but the moral and safety issues remain.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, spankoka said:

I'm skeptical of the notion that acclimatization can prevent cold shock, because I don't see mariners in cold water locations enjoying a bracing swim very much in the same water they navigate in. 

I also think acclimatization can be a little bit of a false hood.  For myself, growing up as a little kid in Alaska and coming down to the 'lower 48' - definitely used to run around in shorts all winter.  Years later when still young in lower-48 snow caving and diving into mountain lakes with icebergs still floating around, just not an issue.  Sailing in PNW the last 30+ years is also always interesting.  Hot summer days, I am still up for taking a swim off the anchor.  And yes, being older that 'cold shock' can hit you.  Never had a problem though.  Eastern Washington on the Columbia river (pateros) and water skiing - yikes, yes, that stuff will take your breath away!

Plus, everybody's bodies react a bit different.  I have spent time in the tropics too, took my body about six months to adjust at a basic level.

Meanwhile there are practical things for folks that organize races, file for USCG notices, etc.  Exactly how one is supposed to determine that all their crew is 'acclimatized' would be sketchy at best?

My 2-cents on this is that we as a community should just take this as a learning event and not be trying to overdo things with a bunch of written instructions about how to be safe at sea?  From a legal point of view the more prescriptive the instructions/notices are, the more liability there is for the race organizers.  There is enough already and good seamanship ranks #1 and let's just leave it at that?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on a boat where we lost someone overboard at night we recovered him alive but still a horrible feeling.I can’t imagine what they are going through.Thoughts and prayers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Left Shift said:

Taking pictures is not "dumb".  It is simply of (much) lower priority than the other tasks:  Like being Number 8 on a list of things to do.

The Navy films all flight deck operations and radio calls to enable it to conduct a more thorough mishap investigation and be able to accurately determined what happened and why it happened, so that we can make appropriate changes to training and procedures to minimize or mitigate the risks inherent in landing aircraft on a ship.  I think the email author's intent was to try to replicate that idea or process.  If we know how someone went overboard, and what the crew did/did not do while attempting to recover that MOB, we would be able to take much more effective and positive steps at both preventing the MOB, and in recovering the MOB.

That said, I will concede that with the small crew on a sailboat, there are almost certainly other, higher priority tasks at hand...also, given the tremendously litigatious society in which we now live, such pictures and documentation could easily be used in civil or criminal court against a skipper or crew which would defeat the whole purpose of acquiring such data...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Still one huge unanswered question: "Why did it take 3 minutes to stop the boat?"

This is the most relevant factor between Crew Overboard recovery or drowning.

I know at least one person who knows the answer to that question but they are choosing to remain silent...

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Scuba diver boards are meticulous about underwater accidents. But they kill more people so maybe got good at it. I read their reports every time I go diving and it raises my safety awareness. Ruthless honesty saves lives. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

Scuba diver boards are meticulous about underwater accidents. But they kill more people so maybe got good at it. I read their reports every time I go diving and it raises my safety awareness. Ruthless honesty saves lives. 

The Rickover principles at work: Face Facts Brutally. If You Can't Write It Down, You Don't Understand It.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/23/2021 at 7:10 PM, Left Shift said:

Taking pictures is not "dumb".  It is simply of (much) lower priority than the other tasks:  Like being Number 8 on a list of things to do.

maybe not dumb but at least useless! it does not contribute to solving the problem!

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, daan62 said:

maybe not dumb but at least useless! it does not contribute to solving the problem!

The immediate problem or the larger problem?  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Left Shift said:

The immediate problem or the larger problem?  

getting the person out... for the original problem you're too late since the person is already in the water...

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, daan62 said:

getting the person out... for the original problem you're too late since the person is already in the water...

The larger problem of which rescue procedures actually work and which do not and for what type of boat.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, daan62 said:

getting the person out... for the original problem you're too late since the person is already in the water...

I can tell you who the video would be extremely helpful to............the deceased relatives attorney when(not if) they file their lawsuit. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Squalamax said:

I can tell you who the video would be extremely helpful to............the deceased relatives attorney when(not if) they file their lawsuit. 

Ah, yes. The waving the attorney flag.  Can you provide a single case where a lawsuit has been filed after an MOB?  Against a boat owner?  Against a Club or RC?   And if you can find a case (doubtful), can you find a successful one?  

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/29/2021 at 1:13 PM, Somebody Else said:

Still one huge unanswered question: "Why did it take 3 minutes to stop the boat?

 

Something I wonder about as well. Perhaps the drag on the leeward side of the boat (from the body tangled up in the spin sheet) made it difficult to turn up into the wind?

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Tom Keffer said:

Something I wonder about as well. Perhaps the drag on the leeward side of the boat (from the body tangled up in the spin sheet) made it difficult to turn up into the wind?

It took 10 minutes to stop the boat. . . they failed.  They needed to use knives and head up to wind!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/3/2021 at 5:19 PM, Left Shift said:

Ah, yes. The waving the attorney flag.  Can you provide a single case where a lawsuit has been filed after an MOB?  Against a boat owner?  Against a Club or RC?   And if you can find a case (doubtful), can you find a successful one?  

 

I'm sure there aren't many cases because sailing as a whole isn't a very popular sport. Deaths or serious injuries don't happen often in our sport thankfully. 

I can assure you, if there's ANY hint of negligence(and I'm not saying there is) there will be a suit filed.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

With a substantial history of racing on both coasts and in dinghies, one design keel boats to maxis on the ocean, I (and many others on here) have seen many unhappy incidents and "I can assure you" that I have rarely heard of lawyers getting engaged, even when there have been cases of deaths and serious injury.  Except in rare incidents when flaming rich egos are involved.  The most famous case was the port/starboard in the MED between two restored mega-yachts.  

Where are the negligence cases?  

On 8/3/2021 at 7:53 PM, view at the front said:

It took 10 minutes to stop the boat. . . they failed.  They needed to use knives and head up to wind!

3 minutes?  10 minutes?  Where do these times come from?

With all the rampant speculation these incidents create, it seems that it might actually be useful to have a "Documenter" assigned to record the incident.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Left Shift said:

With all the rampant speculation these incidents create, it seems that it might actually be useful to have a "Documenter" assigned to record the incident.  

With due respect, Left (and understanding your point, if seemingly ignoring it), if I'm the MOB, please don't waste time documenting the incident. Just get me the fuck out of the water.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2021 at 10:33 PM, daan62 said:

maybe not dumb but at least useless! it does not contribute to solving the problem!

Ahem brother.

Have lost a crew overboard while under a spinnaker.  Could not have enough hands and eyes on that deck to ensure we got that boat stopped while not losing sight of Mr Limpet even with a MOB button.  If you sailing in big seas, you also want to get the motor warmed up just in case the person cannot swim and that means you have to ensure all lines are accounted for before engaging the transmission or things are going to get even worse.

We were successful in getting them aboard, swaddled in dry towels and headed home.

 

I have a rule on my boat. No cell phones on deck during a race.   Nothing but a distraction.  Unless you are awaiting a call from "The Admiral" that she just delivered you a bouncing baby grinder, that &^%$ phone stays below.  You have a job in addition to looking for wind shifts and "boats coming out of nowhere".   Have told members who should have known better the next time I saw that thing in their hands I would toss it into Davey Jone's locker without warning.

 

10 years ago, the folks at Boston or Corinthian YC in Marblehead had the US Sailing doctor (think he was out of Chicago) in to talk about man overboard drills in cold waters at a winter get together of PHRF-NE.   Of all the great advice he laid out after discussing several tragedies, "be sure to film the carnage" was not one of them.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Danceswithoctopus said:

With due respect, Left (and understanding your point, if seemingly ignoring it), if I'm the MOB, please don't waste time documenting the incident. Just get me the fuck out of the water.

Abso-fucking-lutley.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Foreverslow said:

Ahem brother.

Have lost a crew overboard while under a spinnaker.  Could not have enough hands and eyes on that deck to ensure we got that boat stopped while not losing sight of Mr Limpet even with a MOB button.  If you sailing in big seas, you also want to get the motor warmed up just in case the person cannot swim and that means you have to ensure all lines are accounted for before engaging the transmission or things are going to get even worse.

We were successful in getting them aboard, swaddled in dry towels and headed home.

I have a rule on my boat. No cell phones on deck during a race.   Nothing but a distraction.  Unless you are awaiting a call from "The Admiral" that she just delivered you a bouncing baby grinder, that &^%$ phone stays below.  You have a job in addition to looking for wind shifts and "boats coming out of nowhere".   Have told members who should have known better the next time I saw that thing in their hands I would toss it into Davey Jone's locker without warning.

10 years ago, the folks at Boston or Corinthian YC in Marblehead had the US Sailing doctor (think he was out of Chicago) in to talk about man overboard drills in cold waters at a winter get together of PHRF-NE.   Of all the great advice he laid out after discussing several tragedies, "be sure to film the carnage" was not one of them.

Does that on-deck cell phone ban include the one (or the iPad) you are using to navigate with? 

And "be sure to film the carnage" is neither my point nor reasonable advice.  But such "film" would, in fact, demonstrate with great clarity how chaotic and fumbling MOB situations can be.  None of the 7 I've been part of have been like the short, sweet Life Sling promo videos.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Does that on-deck cell phone ban include the one (or the iPad) you are using to navigate with?  

Only if the integrated instruments were to fail. 

Or the sky looks like the end of the world is upon us. I will allow someone to pull up the local TV station's radar site to see how bad an ass kicking we are due for, and if we should tack early to be lifted by the squall. Then it gets put it away..

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Foreverslow said:

Only if the integrated instruments were to fail. 

Or the sky looks like the end of the world is upon us. I will allow someone to pull up the local TV station's radar site to see how bad an ass kicking we are due for, and if we should tack early to be lifted by the squall. Then it gets put it away..

 

Navionics, PredictWind, BuoyData and AyeTides on an iPhone are the easiest to use and most convenient (as well as the lightest and cheapest) navigation tools I've run across for coastal and near-shore racing and cruising.  Off shore, Expedition comes out.

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Navionics, PredictWind, BuoyData and AyeTides on an iPhone are the easiest to use and most convenient (as well as the lightest and cheapest) navigation tools I've run across for coastal and near-shore racing and cruising.  Off shore, Expedition comes out.

That internet portal belongs in the pocket of the "chief guesser", not the meat on the rail.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/3/2021 at 9:13 PM, Tom Keffer said:

Something I wonder about as well. Perhaps the drag on the leeward side of the boat (from the body tangled up in the spin sheet) made it difficult to turn up into the wind?

If the boat won’t turn right, turn left. Who cares what kind of mess you make. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard thread to read for many reasons. Sorry for your loss to all who knew him and I can only pray his family find peace and their are some lessons that can be learned for friends. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

There always is.  Grabbed a guy going over the side in a situation just like that once. I held on and luckily his foot slipped out of his boot.  Boot flew about 20'.

Link to post
Share on other sites