Another fatality for Clipper Around the World.

Rail Meat

Super Anarchist
7,193
175
Mystic, CT
It is a passenger-paying trip, in many ways.  Should 3 people die in three years?  Should 3 out of 1400 die on what is 'the adventure of a lifetime' for, in many cases, pensioners?
That sounds about right for the trip they chose to go on. 

We are all on a passenger paying trip. Better make the juice worth the squeeze. 

 

Rail Meat

Super Anarchist
7,193
175
Mystic, CT
Sorry, I've updated my numbers to around 1400 for two editions.

Second: One death in 5 editions for the Volvo in 12 years.  3 in 2 editions in the Clipper in 2.5 years..  Are you saying the two situations are comparable?  They don't look like it if you write down the numbers.

Third: "They do a hell of a lot of work on safety" seems to go against the ACTUAL MAIB REPORT on the last two deaths.  Do you disagree with the MAIB's recommendations?

Fourth: The family is grieving regardless of whether we talk on a bulletin board.  Do you think that by discussing how this can be prevented in the future, the family loses their ability to speak to each other?
The Volvo has frankly gotten lucky in this regard. 

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
I was a cheerleader for the Clipper for a long time because they drove so many people into the sport.   Turns out there's a substantial likelihood of dying, so it might not be the best took to help the offshore sailing crew pool.
Substantial likelihood..horseshit.

images (10).jpeg

images (9).jpeg

 
Last edited by a moderator:

stief

Super Anarchist
8,118
2,440
Sask Canada
No matter what the RC tries, it will never be enough. Simon Speirs was more accomplished than many. 

A member of the crew since Race Start in the UK on August 20, 2017, Simon was a highly experienced sailor with over 40 years dinghy experience and an RYA Yachtmaster Certificate.

He also successfully completed the Clipper Race Coxswain Certificate (CRCC) in February this year in anticipation of his challenge. Designed in collaboration with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) specifically for the Clipper Race, this involved an intensive two-week course, in addition to the four weeks of compulsory training that all Clipper Race crew must complete which concentrates on safety at sea. 

All Clipper Race crew, regardless of previous sailing experience, complete a compulsory and intensive four-week training programme before joining the race which covers all aspects of safety at sea, including repeated man overboard training drills, which are also repeated in race stopovers.
The question for me is, how long can Race organizers accept any level of risk. I chickened out. (with other parents, ran 20+ ski trips for > 800 high school students over 14 years. No serious injuries, even though the stats said we should have had a least a couple of fatalities). Eventually, couldn't handle the thought I might be aiding and abetting a kid being crippled (or worse) for life, despite all the caveats. So stopped.

Risking oneself is easy. One's family? Friends?

Torben Grael's daughter is doing the Volvo. Not his call, but as a father and ocean racer he must feel the risk. Respect to all, but there comes a time when the burden becomes too much. Sir Robin K-J has accepted that burden, but I don't know how.

 

Rail Meat

Super Anarchist
7,193
175
Mystic, CT
This is all 100% true.  What I'm wondering is just how much the Clipper competitors truly understood the risk, and whether the Clipper added more pros and fixed their safety problems (which focused again and again on their MOB procedures, equipment, and training.
I don' know - I have not seen their disclosures or been on their training.  I would hope those, and some common sense, inform those that would want to participate. 

I have to say - I did not pick you for being so pro-nanny.   Is it the intersection of a dangerous sport and s commercial operation?

I personally have known or had 1 degree of separation from a half dozen people who have died sailing in shore and another 3 or 4 who have died off shore. Prople who do this sport should understand that 

 
Sorry, I've updated my numbers to around 1400 for two editions.

Second: One death in 5 editions for the Volvo in 12 years.  3 in 2 editions in the Clipper in 2.5 years..  Are you saying the two situations are comparable?  They don't look like it if you write down the numbers.
I wrote down the numbers.

So.......based on your numbers......a pro sailor racing in the all pro crewed Volvo Ocean Race has a 48% higher probability of dying than an amateur member of a Clipper team

statistics are a bitch......and often misleading. <_<

 
their boat.  their safety and nav gear. their training. their employee was in charge of the boat.  

Does it not work that way in UK Maritime law?
You are a former lawyer, so you can doubtless explain, for there to be a legal liability there would have to be a defect in the boat, safety gear or training.....and/or negligence on the part of the employee.

I know next to nothing about maritime law and even less about UK maritime law. I recall that the carrier owes a duty of care to a " passenger" that implies a lower hurdle than negligence in other arenas. The definition of passenger is tricky. However, the waivers on the Clipper contract are going to be bullet proof in light of the obvious dangers in adventure travel by sail in the Southern ocean.

 

shanghaisailor

Super Anarchist
3,119
1,268
Shanghai, China
"Turns out there is a substantial likelihood of dying" - it's the frigging ocean, of course there is.

Crux would be, I suppose whether Clipper gloss over that or not.

Having said that the number of people climbing Everest has not fallen away (bad choice of words perhaps) because of multiple deaths on the mountain and the high profile injury to Michael Schumacher who was taking far more precautions than a very high % of skiers has not damaged the alpine ski market so one has to ask 'Why do people do the clipper?'

Perhaps it is BECAUSE of the risks and make no mistake and adventure without risks goes against the very definition of the word.

Either way, the cause needs to be properly investigated.

I remember (and I am blue skying here) thinking that the new fleet was a little too racey for the likes of the clipper - a bit to exposed on deck (just an opinion) but until the new fleet arrived Clipper had no issues with people falling off is I recall correctly. As I say, just blue skying.

 

shanghaisailor

Super Anarchist
3,119
1,268
Shanghai, China
So I sailed the 13-14 Clipper race and I wanted to weigh in on an angle no one has really touched. 

More than a non professional race. This race is also a reality show at high sea. There are round the world'ers who call the shots on the boat and not the skipper. However bad their sailing skills, they almost always think that paying the 50k odd pounds has bought them experience. This is not only on my boat. This I have heard on every boat.

This is the reason why you will find the most unfit people getting one deck for a sail change in the weather this team might have been facing. Let me not even get started on the brass hanks on the yankee sails. That's just primitive technology and something not expected on a boat designed and built in 2012. No idea if its cost cutting or if it is by design to create more work for the crew. The sails in itself are heavy and get heavier with the water. I had a skipper who is in the middle of the southern ocean right now(most of my team would have not recommended him for another race- he's on his third right now- I wrote a lengthy note to Clipper which was just ignored) who insisted always taking the sail to the bow from the lee side- no matter the weather and the age and skillset of the crew at disposal. The round the world'ers would just nod and let it happen. We had the sail in the water more times than I can count. These round the world'ers would become watch leaders regardless of sailing experience, I had a watch leader who's first sailing experience was on a clipper yacht and we had two people in the watch including me with a combined sailing experience of 40 years. I was part of more than a few disagreements in the North Pacific ocean because I didn't agree with most decisions of my watch leader- who just blindly followed the skipper. No wonder we finished last in the race. 

growing up, all i learnt while sailing offshore was that surviving the tough seas is a 50-50 of seamanship and skill. Clipper prepares you moderately in skill. Seamanship comes from years of experience and decision making. It is difficult on the crew and sometimes on the skippers. CRTW is an amazing way to sail round the world. I just feel that the CRTW leadership and Sir Robin need to decide if they are a race or a paid cruise round the world. Cannot be both. If its a race, then training should become better and paid clients need better vetting. If its a paid cruise, pull down the sails in the first sign of low pressure and start the bloody engines. Not everyone is Sir Robin to be sailing solo at that age. He has more experience than all of us on this forum combined. He might be able to sail these boats hard, but not someone with a coastal skipper certificate. 
Respect & well said Gaurav. All us armchair admirals should read the post above -are egos getting in the way of sensible seamanlike decisions? I know I am a 50 year sailor and know my way around a boat but would not be happy on the foredeck of a 70 footer in gnarly weather off the coast of South Africa or the Southern Ocean, harness or not (I am 62 by the way)

The foredeck is a young man's game (unless you are Jerry Kirby and Ken Read described him as a 'freak of nature')

Gauav is spot on - the only thing that buys experience is .....experience with the odd hard knock thrown in for good measure. Seeing Guarav raised it, I have spoken to some of these (no experience before) Clipper sailors and some seem to think they are Joshua Slocum.

SS

 

Chasm

Super Anarchist
2,519
329
MAIB on last years Clipper fatalities:
https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/accidents-on-board-yacht-cv21-resulting-in-loss-of-2-lives

I guess the major question is what -if anything- has changed after the first 9 editions. Until then they lost 1 yacht in a grounding (2010, charts apparently had the reef in a different position.). Then 2 deaths in the 10th edition, 1 yacht lost and 1 death in the 11th edition - so far...

An incident list for the 11th edition has been added to the wikipedia page.

Code:
Date        Yacht			Details of Incident
19/11/2017 Great Britain    Crew death following man over board. Rest in peace Simon Speirs.
17/11/2017 Garmin           Medivac required when possible.
15/11/2017 Greenings        Greenings yacht proving challenging to recover, no commitment from clipper to recover
04/11/2017 Hotel Planner    Medical emergency, crew medivac, broken bones and head injury
01/11/2017 Greenings        Crew wrecked on rocks, yacht not recovered
05/10/2017 PSP Logistics    Boat damaged, returned to port
28/09/2017 PSP Logistics    Skipper resignation
13/09/2017 Greenings        Skipper replacement
10/09/2017 Dare to Lead     Medical emergency, crew medivac due to pneumonia
28/08/2017 Greenings        Medical emergency, skipper medivac due to thumb injury
Hm...

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
Let me not even get started on the brass hanks on the yankee sails. That's just primitive technology and something not expected on a boat designed and built in 2012.
You might need to re-think that one, particularly having regard for the truck you were going around on.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
An Ocean wave can wash anyone off the foredeck.  Happens in less than a second when your head is down focused on the work.  Whoosh you have sixty year old already cold and tired being dragged in the water.  If you do not get yourself back on the boat with the next wave you are in deep trouble.  Does anyone have a story where they ended up in the water of a moving boat in a seaway where  a harness saved them? 

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
Why not the pros have furlers run by coffee grinders and they get paid to turn them not pay to do it
Take away short-handed and or relatively light displacement boats less than 70 feet virtually no offshore racers have furlers. I suspect multiple headsails with furlers on a heavy displacement boat (that loads up gear) like the clipper trucks then that gear incl sails would not last a leg and even if engineered to do so there is not the bodies on board to keep going in one piece. There is also the cost attached to this stuff.

 

NautiGirl

Super Anarchist
8,972
3
New Scotland
Tragic news.  My condolences to his family.

Also, read that he was buried at sea.  Was surprised, initially, to read that.  But after considering the circumstances, 1200+ miles from land, its understandable.  Still, his family won't even have his body to bury.  Very sad situation.  

WetHog   :ph34r:
Very sad indeed.

It sounds morbid, but when my Better Half is away on a sailing adventure without me (like he is right now), I make him leave his wedding band at home. If God forbid something happened, at least I'd have that.

 




Top