Team Vestas grounded

estarzinger

Super Anarchist
7,484
880
up. So what's the "I'm knackered, but I need a fail safe way of staying off the bricks" answer? Paper charts (but they have those). A dedicated plotter with no weather, no routing, no AIS, just projected track & raster charts? Or just the "There but for the grace of God.... Check & double check"?
I personally think the whole Nav/safety community has not paid as much attention as they should have, during the transition from paper to e-charts, to how the process and work flow should change. I personally had a couple 'bad/near miss incidents' during my own transition and learned my own lessons, but have never seen a good best practices write up.

So, I have neither an 'expert' nor have studied the topic broadly, but my own lessons were:

1. Pre-passage planning needs to include following along the route line (and either side for a decent ways) as high zoom to look for dangerous features, and pins put on them. And yes, that can involve scrolling along a 2000nm route line bit by bit - slow and tedious but it has to be done. In this Volvo case, it become a little more complex because these islands were in an exclusion zone at the start, but when the exclusion was lifted and the route move to go thru the area, that prep-work then needed to be done (and time made for the Nav to do it).

We are 99% e-charting now, but we do keep an ocean scale paper chart out, which makes the above 'high level' feature scan a bit easier/faster/more fool proof. And we also keep (but stowed away) paper 'landfall/harbor entry' charts for the 3 (or so) likely (primary plus alternate backups) landfalls - in case the electronics die.

2. I do weather routing on a PC, but have a dedicated plotter always running at relatively close zoom (usually 12nm), and part of the watch process is to take a good look at it (each hour) and double check that there is nothing to hit in the next hour (or the watch is well aware of/communicated to about what is there they could hit). This includes AIS targets.

3. If there are potential dangers, clearing bearings and depths are somewhat forgotten concepts in the gps point and shoot age, but still very useful/valuable. They are useful for two reasons. First they communicate to/involve the deck in when/where they can safety proceed and when they should be extremely cautious - they are in essence a component of CRM. Second, by simply going thru the systematic process of constructing them, the Nav is forced to carefully study/double check the problems he is likely to face. In this particular case, a clearing depth (alarm) would probably have prevented the incident.

4. With the apparent accuracy of e-charts and AIS CPA's I think most of us find ourselves going closer to dangers than we used to. This accuracy can be misleading, because the charts can be a bit wrong, or humans can f*&k up, or a 3 sigma breaking wave can choose that moment, or that ship can turn, and if you have left no safety margin because you thought everything was calculated accurate down to 3m's, you are then shit out of luck. We all need to develop a new paradigm for choosing 'safe distances' to various hazards.

This is a complex, many faceted, issue to solve; and I do not have any grand solution to offer. Mostly it is a judgement issue based on hard experience; but the 'pro hands' should be able to offer some useful rules of thumb for this 'new world' (where we know where we are very accurately, and where many hazards are very accurately, but not all, and human error is ever present). Stan Honey suggested one particular 'safe distance' model (for shallow water wave situations) in the low speed chase report. I have suggested in posts above that I personally considered 2nm a 'safe distance' to remote reefs like this volvo one. But given the ocean pilot comments about accuracy, 3nm might have been more appropriate. It turns out that for the 'main features' this reef seems to have been much more accurately charted than the pilot suggests, but who knows how accurate all the surrounding little islets and coral heads actually are.

Fatigue and work load have to be part of the 'safe distance' equation.

Consider that Dong feng nearly hit the same island and avoided it because it was daylight out.

I believe it was more of a work flow/ habit issue that the teams weren't paying attention to.
Dongfeng did not miss it "nearly": if i recall correctly Charles discovered the islands while checking for dangers on the charts before they came to St. Brandon. They gibed about 50 miles south of it - but they gibed some 5 miles later as the rest of the pack - this "navigational error" cost them 2 miles: because of the late gybe they had to avoid the shoals, but as they were passing in daylight they could pass them close.
I personally would argue that Dong was 'too close'. The fact that they went thru in daylight saved them. But would suggest that 'luck' also played a role. When you are sailing at 6kts you can in fact spot isolated coral heads in daylight with good sunlight from the right direction, but at 15kts hmmm, not so much. They were taking a 'low speed chase' sort of risk (eg low but non-trivial probability of something bad happening) going thru where they did.

 
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us7070

Super Anarchist
10,226
241
You need to keep the nav off the watch sched. He/she needs to focus on the details. Go to 9 people. I collapsed on the way to HI and missed my gybe by 6 hours. I didn't hit anything, but it screwed me on ET. My point is the navigator doesn't get any slack time. You're focused on the big picture and its easy to lose situational awareness at the speeds these guys are traveling.

Just ask JBSF what would happen if his mission plan were changed by 45 Kts (knowing that pilots can only divide by 60).
I posted earlier in this thread about the issue of lack of sleep for a navigator

I am pretty much always out of the watch rotation - i miss sailing the boat - but I think it's better.

nevertheless, it doesn't solve the problem - as I said in the other post, I don't like to go to sleep, because i'm worried about what can go wrong.

mostly, i'm worried about tactical issues, not running aground.

In some BDA races, I haven't slept at all til we were through the gulf stream.

but in most coastal races you are nearly always in a spot where potentially the boat could run aground.

Like i said in the other post, one key thing is having confidence in the watch captains - and I've always sailed with WC's in which I have complete confidence when it comes to things like running aground.

the more difficult issue for the navigator, is keeping the WC's current with the changing strategic and tactical considerations as the race develops - I think a lot of sailors may not understand how much of a continuous process this is

it's really rough in races with nearly continuous tracking - like the BDA race has now - just following the competition becomes a full time job - you don't want to wake up and find that someone has gotten away from you.

If as navigator I haven't done a good job of keeping the WC's up to date with tactical issues, and i don't feel that i have someone i can delegate responsibility to, then I am less likely to feel that i can go to sleep.

it's really important to have regular and productive meetings with WC's

and i'm sure all navigators have had the experience of going to sleep, but not really sleeping - checking the #s on their iphone every 10 minutes....

Anyway, the thing is you have to sleep - i'm better at it now than i was when i started navigating

if you don't sleep your decisions will be poor, and both safety and tactics will suffer.

 
Are you guys forgetting that Oxley warned Vestus about the reef 15 minutes before he got a call saying they were on it. Gross negligence here. They were aware of the issue, maybe they didn't think they were that close. Time will tell. One big f-up.

The boat is toast. Donate every piece of it to the locals and let them make useful "island tools" out of it. Harken pedestal chum grinder would be pretty sweet. Maybe the Southern Spars/ North Sails Hospitality Tent

 

Chasm

Super Anarchist
2,504
317
A new Team Vestas Wind press release:

On Saturday 29th December 2014 at 15:21 UTC, Team Vestas Wind reported having run aground Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius. No one was injured.

The nine-man crew abandoned ship in the early hours of Sunday morning, wading through knee-deep water to a dry position on the reef. They were picked up from there at daylight by a coastguard rib and taken to the nearby Íle du Sud.

Almost 72 hours after the accident, and as the Team make their way to Mauritius, skipper Chris Nicholson (Nico) and shore manager Neil Cox (Coxy), presently in Mauritius coordinating activities, give their take on recent events:

Abandoning the boat

Nico: “We knew there was shallow water on the other side of the reef in the lagoon side. The problem was that for most of the night we were on the deep water side and the boat was being beaten by those complete point break waves. Two hours before daylight, the boat leaned over heavily so I made the decision that we were getting off. We’d been practicing throughout the night how we were going to do it. We made the call and got on with the job.

Coxy: “They were into the life rafts and literally 20 mins later, I got another phone call saying we’re all good and we’re standing on a rock…we’ve paddled a quarter of a mile or whatever away from the boat. They were able to get on a rock above the reef, a good metre and a half above sea level. Everyone was accounted for, everyone safe, so of course that’s a huge relief. The whole situation was defused, but the reality of it is, they were standing on a rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean”.

Immediate concerns

Nico: “My major concerns were obviously for the well-being of my crew, and also everyone who may actually have felt for them that night as well. Some of my first phone calls after colliding with the reef, once I let Race Control know, were asking Neil Cox to get the families informed so that they knew what was going on. During the course of things we lost all electrical supply, we lost satphone coverage, and the old snowball thing was happening. I can only imagine what was happening with the families. So that’s my immediate concern and also that we need to recover this vessel as much as we possibly can.”

Coxy: “We have still got nine guys sitting on what is basically a sand pit out in the middle of the Indian Ocean. They are still the priority. It’s a peace of mind to know they’re all safe and doing everything they can out there with the boat right now.

The Mauritius Coast Guard flew over the islet yesterday and air dropped food and medicine to the shipwrecked crew. There is limited electricity available on the islet via a generator that operates part of the day. We’ve got the sat phone there, that’s our main source of communication.”

Next steps?

Coxy: “A fishing boat will pick the guys up early tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. It’s almost a day trip to get them back to Mauritius, so we’re looking at them arriving early Wednesday morning. I’m in the process right now of getting everyone’s customs clearance, getting all the bureaucracy sorted out before they get here, trying to make it as simple as possible for them. They’re stepping onto Mauritius with basically the clothing they’ve got on them.

We’re trying to bring as much back as we can on the fishing boat so it can be reused or returned or whatever needs to be. We’ll deal with the boat after that.

Just like any competitive or professional sport things can go wrong and they have to be dealt with as professionally as when everything is going right. I know I can speak for Nico, myself and our sponsor when I say that we want to make sure that everything is followed through 100%”.

Limiting environmental impact

Skipper Chris Nicholson and several others crew members have returned several times to the Vestas boat to remove as much environmentally sensitive material as possible. Given just how little they have to work with out there, the crew is demonstrating extraordinary professionalism and environmental responsibility in this regard.

Nico: “The whole crew spent as long a time as we could retrieving diesel, oil, hydraulics, batteries, water, food, equipment etc. from the boat to limit environmental impact. It’s an absolutely stunning lagoon and bird colony that’s on these islands, and it’s just unheard of - so we are going to do our best and clean up.”
 

John Drake

Banned
12,078
0
Portmeirion
You need to keep the nav off the watch sched. He/she needs to focus on the details. Go to 9 people. I collapsed on the way to HI and missed my gybe by 6 hours. I didn't hit anything, but it screwed me on ET. My point is the navigator doesn't get any slack time. You're focused on the big picture and its easy to lose situational awareness at the speeds these guys are traveling.

Just ask JBSF what would happen if his mission plan were changed by 45 Kts (knowing that pilots can only divide by 60).
I posted earlier in this thread about the issue of lack of sleep for a navigator

I am pretty much always out of the watch rotation - i miss sailing the boat - but I think it's better.

nevertheless, it doesn't solve the problem - as I said in the other post, I don't like to go to sleep, because i'm worried about what can go wrong.

mostly, i'm worried about tactical issues, not running aground.

In some BDA races, I haven't slept at all til we were through the gulf stream.

but in most coastal races you are nearly always in a spot where potentially the boat could run aground.

Like i said in the other post, one key thing is having confidence in the watch captains - and I've always sailed with WC's in which I have complete confidence when it comes to things like running aground.

the more difficult issue for the navigator, is keeping the WC's current with the changing strategic and tactical considerations as the race develops - I think a lot of sailors may not understand how much of a continuous process this is

it's really rough in races with nearly continuous tracking - like the BDA race has now - just following the competition becomes a full time job - you don't want to wake up and find that someone has gotten away from you.

If as navigator I haven't done a good job of keeping the WC's up to date with tactical issues, and i don't feel that i have someone i can delegate responsibility to, then I am less likely to feel that i can go to sleep.

it's really important to have regular and productive meetings with WC's

and i'm sure all navigators have had the experience of going to sleep, but not really sleeping - checking the #s on their iphone every 10 minutes....

Anyway, the thing is you have to sleep - i'm better at it now than i was when i started navigating

if you don't sleep your decisions will be poor, and both safety and tactics will suffer.
At a minimum of every watch change the navigator should be giving a brief to the oncoming watch captain. What has been trending, conditions wise, and what to expect in their watch. This includes any features and characteristics like reefs and land masses.
Also like to point out that on something short, like a BDA race, you really don't get into the swing of watch rotations. However when doing longer legs you get into them and the fatigue issues go away. You become accustom to the routine.

When I sailed around the planet I pretty much didn't break from a watch sched when we got to port. No point in it. You just get up in the middle of the night, grab a snack, read, think about the next leg then hit the sack again. That was two decades ago and I still don't sleep through the night. Circadian Rhythm adjusted to it and it ain't ever coming back to what most consider normal.

 

Flap

New member
37
0
Qld
Easy to judge. But there are only two kinds of sailors; those who have run aground and liars.
Each time you hear that bang, bump, thud, or shudder , you learn somthing. Like fuck, don't do that again. I know there are 101 ways to run aground but there is no point testing them all out eh?That's why some of us like offshore sailing where there is bugger all around to run into ( except those big steel monsters)

For some reason I just look at it like this , as many of you will.

Rule 5 proper lookout, Rule 6 Safe speed, Rule 7 Risk of collision Rule 8 action to avoid a collision and so on.

Then eventually you stop hitting things.

Of course ya need ya lucky charms, Red Sox, glass fishing float and that dusty old sextant.

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
Lat21 that is a simple world background C Map that simply shows graphicaly what high res C Map charts you have loaded in Expedition and that can allow the relevant high res map to be automaticaly loaded for use depending on actual position. Apart from that it is useless.

 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
26,226
4,378
Kent Island!

4. With the apparent accuracy of e-charts and AIS CPA's I think most of us find ourselves going closer to dangers than we used to. This accuracy can be misleading, because the charts can be a bit wrong, or humans can f*&k up, or a 3 sigma breaking wave can choose that moment, or that ship can turn, and if you have left no safety margin because you thought everything was calculated accurate down to 3m's, you are then shit out of luck. We all need to develop a new paradigm for choosing 'safe distances' to various hazards.
THIS!

I think we all do this to an extent. Why go miles out of your way to stay in the main channel when you can skirt the bar and save time? This is also a well known issue with airplanes and XM Weather. People fly near storms they would have avoided by 50 miles without the nice NEXRAD display. Every now and again someone finds out a fast moving storm and the delay in XM image processing = :eek: :eek:

I think we all know that if restricted to celestial nav, these islands would have been given a 25 mile gap, not a 2 mile one :rolleyes:

 
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Charlie Noble

Member
107
0
The tone of this thread was to let Vestas speak as to what went wrong and not rush to judge / throw under a bus.

We are over 72 hours later and the press releases coming from Vestas are fucking PR bullshit garbage.

 

Laser1

Super Anarchist
1,637
672
Westcountry
Like one of my old skippers used to say shortly after the introduction of AP-navigator, satnav and later GPS .............. "they're all button pushers these days"

No offence intended to the crew of Vespa or Wouter.

Go Bouwe !!!

 

MR.CLEAN

Moderator
45,205
3,786
Not here
The tone of this thread was to let Vestas speak as to what went wrong and not rush to judge / throw under a bus.

We are over 72 hours later and the press releases coming from Vestas are fucking PR bullshit garbage.
I'd like to let them get off the beach before the interrogations begin. You OK with that?

 

peragrin

Super Anarchist
1,817
80
The tone of this thread was to let Vestas speak as to what went wrong and not rush to judge / throw under a bus.

We are over 72 hours later and the press releases coming from Vestas are fucking PR bullshit garbage.
The team is ship wrecked on an island with minimal food, water awaiting rescue. They have a sat phone with a dying battery a local generator that runs just a few hours during the day/ night.
What part of that is fucking ridiculous ? This isn't hollywood land where we beam people off the island instantly. In the real world you can't build a tv studio out of coconuts and mangos

It is hard to have more PR when you are still trying to get people and equipment on site.

As for team vesta I hope their only complaint is the lack of females stuck on that island with them.

 
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