Sailor Dies in Newport Bermuda Race

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
13,920
3,471
I met a young sailor who took a delivery with an older owner mostly for some offshore sea time. It was pretty obvious when he first met with the owner and saw the boat this trip might not be a good idea especially since it was from the Chesapeake down to the Bahamas and they had to weather Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear. Almost on queue some nasty weather and they were in for a rough time. The old owner was having a lot of trouble going up and down the companionway so the young guy sort of lashed the owner to the forward corner of the cockpit. The old guy was doing rather poorly and ended up sitting on the high side and the skipper was tiller steering to leeward. As the boat fell into the troughs of the waves the pounding sort of worked the lashings loose and twice the old guy fell across the cockpit onto the helmsman. Second time he realised that the old guy was dead so he then got lashed to leeward and the poor solo skipper now kept the boat out of trouble as best he could and had spoken to USCG in Wilmington IIRC and he declared the death on board and a cutter was dispatched to meet as soon as the seas laid down. I think he was still 50 miles out when the cutter arrived and launched the Rescue RIB and boarded the small sloop. Pretty gruesome for all hands to get the body transferred and the RIB returned to the cutter. The skipper of the sailboat then finally realised that he was truly on his own to make the last leg into port as the CG showed now interest in towing or offering a seaman to help get the boat to port. The shock and fatigue of the whole ordeal had shaken his own confidence and figured he would just lay heave to and get some rest as the winds further abated before raising sail and getting on back to safe harbor. He decided to have a drink of rum or two to settle down and then maybe another when the cutter raised him on the radio and told him to prepare for another boarding to answer some questions about the owners death! And to think he had just slugged down a third of a bottle of rum and smelled like a distillery...

As it turned out the Coasties had a closer look at the boat and equipment and gave the poor bloke a hall pass on having gone on a drinking bender and the decision was made to let the RIB put a deckhand on board and then they towed the stricken vessel ashore. The did threaten him with DUI but they just wanted to get him ashore so he could go contact the widow! There were a lot of weird turns of events with possession of the boat and payment of wages but it was long ago and for all I know the kid could have been bullshitting me...

Remember when the Maxi-Cat MOUSETRAP dismasted around Bermuda bound for the Caribbean killing one crew? I think they were told to enter Bermuda by the rescue folks there but the big cruising cat (115'?) kept on going to the Caymans where it was registered (and insured?) which kept the whole circumstances under wraps. A boat like that probably has freezers big enough to use as a morgue.

So hard to heard of the Bermuda Race fatality and condolences to his family. RIP
 

Jib Man

Super Anarchist
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0
RIP and condolences, what a disaster.

In the category of pointless speculation, whaddaya bet he was taking a piss over the side without a tether when pitched from the boat.
 

clamslapper

Anarchist
Condolences to his family and friends!! PFD's worn? Harnesses? Details??

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We were about 10 miles away and heard the radio calls. Offered to assist but nearer boats were already there. The windspeed wasn’t too extreme — low 30s IIRC — but the sea state became monstrous for a couple hours. Really huge waves with a nasty cross-sea.

I clearly remember them saying they had him in a LifeSling. Which means he was alive after exiting the boat. But in those conditions it’s just not a practical reality to pick someone up without killing them. I’m sure he was wearing his tether but if you’re wearing the 6’ side and go over the lifeline in those kind of conditions, there’s just no way in hell the rest of of the crew can haul you in alive. The boat will certainly kill you.

USCG did respond but stated ETA was, as I recall, over an hour. When the crew told USCG this was no longer a rescue, of course they stood down.

Condolences to the family for what must have been a true horror.
 

[email protected]

Super Anarchist
2,261
193
USA
We were about 10 miles away and heard the radio calls. Offered to assist but nearer boats were already there. The windspeed wasn’t too extreme — low 30s IIRC — but the sea state became monstrous for a couple hours. Really huge waves with a nasty cross-sea.

I clearly remember them saying they had him in a LifeSling. Which means he was alive after exiting the boat. But in those conditions it’s just not a practical reality to pick someone up without killing them. I’m sure he was wearing his tether but if you’re wearing the 6’ side and go over the lifeline in those kind of conditions, there’s just no way in hell the rest of of the crew can haul you in alive. The boat will certainly kill you.

USCG did respond but stated ETA was, as I recall, over an hour. When the crew told USCG this was no longer a rescue, of course they stood down.

Condolences to the family for what must have been a true horror.
Thanks for the pertinent info. What was the approx water temp in this location? And im sure someone will chime in w/ the corresponding survival times. To be clear, i am not speculating as if hypothermia did or did not play a part here, just curious as to that point of fact.
 

[email protected]

Super Anarchist
2,261
193
USA
We were about 10 miles away and heard the radio calls. Offered to assist but nearer boats were already there. The windspeed wasn’t too extreme — low 30s IIRC — but the sea state became monstrous for a couple hours. Really huge waves with a nasty cross-sea.

I clearly remember them saying they had him in a LifeSling. Which means he was alive after exiting the boat. But in those conditions it’s just not a practical reality to pick someone up without killing them. I’m sure he was wearing his tether but if you’re wearing the 6’ side and go over the lifeline in those kind of conditions, there’s just no way in hell the rest of of the crew can haul you in alive. The boat will certainly kill you.

USCG did respond but stated ETA was, as I recall, over an hour. When the crew told USCG this was no longer a rescue, of course they stood down.

Condolences to the family for what must have been a true horror.
Also what time did this happen?
 

mpenman

Member
251
234
Pompano Beach
We were about 10 miles away and heard the radio calls. Offered to assist but nearer boats were already there. The windspeed wasn’t too extreme — low 30s IIRC — but the sea state became monstrous for a couple hours. Really huge waves with a nasty cross-sea.
I'm terribly sorry to hear about his passing and well raced on your part. I was not there but folks told me that the sea state did indeed get really, really nasty for a period of time.

Condolences to the family for what must have been a true horror.
Yup and the crew too. It's something you don't get over.
Thanks for posting
 

Patriot

Super Anarchist
1,099
15
Would be interesting to understand the Coast Guard’s take on rendering assistance……perhaps arguable that transporting a dead body isn’t among Joe Sailor’s core competencies, and this situation could give rise to a health & safety hazard……interested in other views, and save yourself some typing if you’re just in the mood to sling shit…..
 

clamslapper

Anarchist
RIP and condolences, what a disaster.

In the category of pointless speculation, whaddaya bet he was taking a piss over the side without a tether when pitched from the
Thanks for the pertinent info. What was the approx water temp in this location? And im sure someone will chime in w/ the corresponding survival times. To be clear, i am not speculating as if hypothermia did or did not play a part here, just curious as to that point of fact.


Water temp was about 78 degrees as I recall. We were all proceeding at about COG 165 degrees along a well-defined meander south of the main stem of the Gulf Stream.

As far as time of day, I can’t remember exactly. Given our boat’s imprecise watch schedule during the day and overall sleep deprivation it's hard to recall exactly — I would say it must have occurred between noon and 2pm.
 
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Just A Skosh

Super Anarchist
1,386
65
New Hampshire
Water temp was about 78 degrees as I recall. We were all proceeding at about COG 165 along a well-defined meander of the GS.

As far as time of day, I can’t recall. Given our boat’s watch schedule — which wasn’t all that rigorously enforced tbh — I would say it must have occurred between 10am and 2pm.
Looking at the tracker I think Morgan's track went weird around 2-3 on Saturday.
 

ProaSailor

dreaming my life away...
6,106
794
Oregon
As of 3:52 pm Wednesday, June 22, MORGAN OF MARIETTA was docked at the Raritan Yacht Club, Perth Amboy, New Jersey


 

T sailor

Member
458
106
Chesapeake
Prayers to the family and crew. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for the crew. It will take a lot of time for those guys to recover from this. Recover isn’t really the right word as I don’t see how they will ever fully recover.
 

Clove Hitch

Halyard licker
10,392
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Prayers to the family and crew. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for the crew. It will take a lot of time for those guys to recover from this. Recover isn’t really the right word as I don’t see how they will ever fully recover.
Ya, especially if they actually watched the boat bash the skipper to death while trying to retrieve him. Trauma like that will take years and can be triggered long after the event.

A year after working in a COVID unit I had to renew my CPR and when it was my turn to do compressions on the dummy I had a full on out of body flash back to the last blue lipped covid pt i coded.

Hope the crew isn't too hard on themselves and seek support if they need it.
 

floater

Super Duper Anarchist
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quivira regnum
I’m sure he was wearing his tether but if you’re wearing the 6’ side and go over the lifeline in those kind of conditions, there’s just no way in hell the rest of of the crew can haul you in alive. The boat will certainly kill you.
this. back in the day we used to sail or race all over the bay and even down the coast with no tethers. no lifejackets. just good balance and a strong grip. but now I find myself - sensibly - installing jacklines on the deck of my own boat. but the tether.

I wonder about going over and being tethered to the boat. wtf. doesn't really seem safe.

the tether I plan to make is going to be as short as possible. and the jacklines as inboard as possible. it would seem the goal is stay on board.
 

shubrook

Anarchist
950
114
CT, USA
I wonder about going over and being tethered to the boat. wtf. doesn't really seem safe.

the tether I plan to make is going to be as short as possible. and the jacklines as inboard as possible. it would seem the goal is stay on board.
I don't think we have a lot of details at this point - so I don't want to speculate about this incident, but...

I don't think you could make a tether short enough to keep you from going over the toe rail - the jacklines themselves will have several feet of give. Ideally you disconnect yourself if you are getting slammed or drowned, but I worry about my ability to do this if my inflatable goes off. Perhaps the best thing the crew can do if someone is pinned against the boat is to cut them loose, but I know that would have go against my instincts in the heat of the moment.

I often wonder if a much longer tether may be safer - like 1.5x the length of the boat. That would give you enough to get clear. Something like this could probably be scaled down to the size of your fist:

1655996960869.png
 

Bump-n-Grind

Get off my lawn.
14,790
3,584
Chesapeake Bay/Vail
I don't think we have a lot of details at this point - so I don't want to speculate about this incident, but...

I don't think you could make a tether short enough to keep you from going over the toe rail - the jacklines themselves will have several feet of give. Ideally you disconnect yourself if you are getting slammed or drowned, but I worry about my ability to do this if my inflatable goes off. Perhaps the best thing the crew can do if someone is pinned against the boat is to cut them loose, but I know that would have go against my instincts in the heat of the moment.

I often wonder if a much longer tether may be safer - like 1.5x the length of the boat. That would give you enough to get clear. Something like this could probably be scaled down to the size of your fist:

View attachment 524798
Batman has already developed that tech....
 
Doesn't one them have to pay for that service? I reckon it's a pretty penny per hour?? I'm with Clove Hitch, pitch me back over the side. Let the Missus spend the money elsewhere!
Philip Walwyn (RIP...great man) told a lovely story of when he was struck by an unexpected storm when moving a vintage boat from FL to St Kitts for restoration. When the USCG announced their plan in response to his Pan Pan, he replied (in his English plummy accent)"
Philip : " I say chaps, that all sounds rather expensive. I'm not sure I'm worth that"
USCG : "Sir! The United States Coast Guard does not charge Sir."

Philip was very fond of the USCG in particular and Americans in general, from that time on.

When he was aboard the USCG cutter. Philip told the Captain that his vessel was in poor condition, would likely sink and would remain a hazard to shipping until it did, and suggested that they use it for target practice. The USCG enthusiastically complied.

It was July 4th.

Philip recounts the surreal moment of American guns sinking a vessel with the blue ensign on July 4th.

Philip was good company as the cutter made it way back to the mainland and remained in touch with his new found friends. I am told that there was a minute of silence in a couple of ward rooms when he passed, doing what he loved most.

It was perhaps fitting that Philip died within minutes of being landed in a Coast Guard helo.....his luck ran out on his 17th transatlantic . If I could live half of his life.
 
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