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Sinking of the Sailboat Kelaerin
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Pat Anderson



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 8078
City/Region: Birch Bay, WA
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Daydream
Photos: Daydream and Crabby Lou
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:38 pm    Post subject: Sinking of the Sailboat Kelaerin Reply with quote

Larry Grundin forwarded this to me. There are a LOT of lessons in here, even for those of us who do not sail across oceans.

Loss of Kelaerin, June 17, 2018

For months, I had been imagining the end of our circumnavigation. We would finally pass by the Fuca Pillar make our way into Neah Bay and have a good two days rest, or three, and get the boat all cleaned up. Our daughter wanted to meet us at the visitor’s dock in Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham so she asked that we not get in until Sunday, June 24, as she lived in Portland, Oregon and needed to have the time off from work to be there waiting for us. We would drive up to the dock with all our courtesy flags from over 50 countries flying on the staysail halyard, banners from various rallies and events we had participated in hanging on the lifelines and personal burgees from different organizations raised up the signal halyards. I hoped to make a banner showing a globe with our circumnavigation route over the 17 years. There would be our daughters on the dock and maybe a few interested friends waving us in and then a celebration with champagne and M&Ms, a tradition we started back in 1991 in Costa Rica. Then we would toast our life’s dream accomplished and rest on our laurels a bit before entering the next phase of our lives. Whatever that was, it would still certainly include boats.

A completely different scenario took over. We had left Oahu, Hawaii on May 26, 2018. After weeks of watching the “high” develop in the north Pacific, we felt we could safely leave now and have reasonable weather for the 21-27 day trip to Bellingham, Washington. We sailed just west of the high and had somewhat rough conditions for several days, but that was to be expected. Uncomfortable, not dangerous for us. When we got to latitude 38 degrees north we were able to make easting in the westerly winds blowing on the top of the high. So far so good, all as planned, although still kind of rough for the most part with confused seas much of the time.

Finally, at around 137 degrees longitude we were making a nice northeast course, and according to the chart plotter, heading straight for Cape Flattery. Kelaerin was making good an average of over 5 knots through the whole trip. The horse could smell the barn, so to speak, and we were becoming excited now that this trip would be over soon.

On the evening of June 15, Jim downloaded a grib file and came up to the cockpit, discouraged. For the previous week, we saw that about this time we should be seeing light to variable winds from the southwest. We could expect to have to raise the spinnaker for the light winds or motor part of the way.

But suddenly the reports were different. The wind was to be 21 to 26 knots from the north/northwest so it would still be a bumpy ride to the very end. The conditions, although uncomfortable, were nothing that should stop us from making progress.

On June 16, the winds slowly increased throughout the day. As we entered the night hours, we had winds well into the mid-30’s and seas were building. Still, Kelaerin was sailing fine, however, we were losing our direct line to Cape Flattery and making easting towards the Columbia River. The seas continued to build to over 4 meters, then 5 and now we were heading directly south with the waves on our stern, paralleling the coast, and sailing away from our destination. Eventually we were sailing bare poles at almost 5 knots down steep waves, the largest waves I had ever seen while cruising. I estimated they were 30 feet. We decided to keep one hour watches. I went to bed around 2:30 for a quick nap and to warm up under the covers.

I awoke around 3:30 to first a hard hit by a wave, so hard it literally felt as though we had been hit by a train while sitting on the tracks. I was suddenly on the ceiling and tons of water came in through the companionway hatch. The noise inside the boat was deafening. I managed with some difficulty to swing out of the berth and when I put my feet on the floor I was standing in water up to my ankles. The water was sloshing violently back and forth and from bow to stern. I could barely comprehend what I saw. The aft cabin companionway ladder was across the cabin and bashed into the louvred door of the hanging locker. One of the two scuba tanks was out of their snap holders behind the ladder and sitting in the hanging locker. Jim called me from the cockpit and I answered him, telling him I couldn’t get out of the aft cabin. (If I had needed to escape, it would have to be through the deck hatch over the berth.) I was able to move the ladder and the scuba tank from the doorway into the pass through. Everything that was on the quarter berth was now on the floor. Stuff had been piled there and secured for years for passages, but now was a heap on the cabin sole. But the second scuba tank was now in that bunk. We had a bag of laundry sitting in the shop that was behind the engine and all the clothes were sloshing around the cables and chains of the steering. The heavy, sliding doors to the engine room were bashed into the pass through. I had some difficulty getting those out of the way and navigating myself through the mess and now into the main cabin. The sight was so horrifying and complex that I could barely take it in. Almost every locker door was open or broken and the lockers were bare, with the contents sloshing back and forth on the cabin sole. The bilge hatches were gone – they weren’t always the easiest to get up with their pull rings -- and the water tanks exposed to view. Locker lids either flat or on the cabin sides were askew and shelves were broken. It just couldn’t be possible that my beautiful boat, the one we had for 27 years and was so lovingly maintained, could look like this.

I got to the main cabin companionway and saw Jim at the wheel. He had blood covering half of his face. He looked shocked but was steering us down a huge wave. I had a hard time taking this view in as well. I was looking at clear sky where once there had been a full cockpit enclosure. I asked, “Where is the dodger?” and Jim just said, “It’s gone.” He asked me to get on the VHF and put out a MAYDAY call. I felt strange doing this, even hesitated for a few seconds, as I never pictured us asking for help. We never had since our first time together out in sailboats back in 1978. We got no answer. He then asked if I could take the wheel, which I did while he went down below to check the damage and make sure we weren’t taking on water. While behind the wheel I had to keep the stern to the waves. I concentrated on steering and at some point as I looked forward I could see that the dinghy was gone. The handrails it had been tied to were broken, snapped like twigs. Then I realized something else was missing….the liferaft. I leaned over to see if it had maybe been caught in between the cabin top and the lifelines or blanketed by the main sail but it was not there. It had been tied to a stainless steel luggage rack that we had constructed and bolted to the cabin top just forward of the dodger. The teak coaming that ran across the cabin top was broken off with a part of it in the cabin. It was probably that which had hit Jim and gashed him above his eye. The mainsail had been spilled out of the stack pack and was hanging down to the deck and possibly some of it over the lifelines and I could see that it was shredded in places. All these things had compiled in my mind and unbelievably I was ledgering the costs of the damage and what it would take to fix all of this. Never had I thought that at the end of our voyage we would have to rebuild our boat.

Jim appeared at the companionway and said that the SSB radio was dead. The two VHF radios were on but since no one answered our MAYDAYS we weren’t positive they were sending out our messages.

He was pretty sure, he said, that we weren’t taking on any more water. It had been almost two hours since the wave had tossed us now and we were both showing signs of hypothermia. Jim said my lips were turning blue and the blood caked on his face looked ghastly. I was doing o.k. with steering but every once in a while a bigger wave broke near me and we would begin to broach. I had to hold on to the wheel with everything I had to keep it stern to. I screamed now and then. I know this because my voice was getting hoarse.

We were in very dangerous shape now, with no communications and no way to get a weather report. No one was answering our MAYDAY calls. The boat was seriously damaged and we had tons of water going back and forth in the cabin. Things that had been in the aft cabin, including our spare Aries windvane which was tied down beneath the aft cabin berth, had been propelled incredibly through the walkthrough and into the main cabin and had managed somehow not to hit me when I was still in the bunk. I wondered why I saw the carton of milk on the cabin sole, the contents of our refrigerator and freezer scattered about the boat. The refrigerator lid was heavy with a pull ring and it took a little doing to get it up in normal conditions. Jim assessed that we had been turned upside down. When the wave hit, he was wearing his SoSpenders but not tethered. Jim has great reflexes, thankfully, and said he had to hold on to the steering pedestal with all his might or he would have gone over. In retrospect we don’t think the tether would have helped seeing as how so many other things had been ripped off the boat. He described the enclosure as shredding and blowing off like newspaper in the wind. Later inspection showed that the pedestal had broken at the base. It was lucky we had steering at all at this point. When he lifted the chart table lid there was nothing in it now, except a lone can of tuna fish. Nothing was dry, the stove was broken and the water tanks were probably fouled through the vents. The engine itself may have worked but the starter motor was surely dead as it was now underwater. The engine wouldn’t have helped anyway, not unless we could get closer to shore and now we were getting farther away every minute.

We had 4 electric bilge pumps, one was a large capacity pump. All 4 clogged with debris. The debris was from all the soft back books we had on board. The cheaper paper turned to mush with all the sloshing and went right through the screens into the pumps. There was no way we could operate the manual pump in these conditions and to get that much water out. While Jim was describing this to me, I kept looking over to where the liferaft had been. Then the reality of our situation seemed to be clear to both of us. I said, “I think we should activate the EPIRB” and he agreed. We had a 406 Mhz EPIRB and he went to get it out of its holder and brought it up to our binocular box on the cabin (the binoculars were gone) and set it in there and and pushed the button.

We couldn’t be sure that anyone would be able to get to us or hear us. We had the EPIRB properly registered and overhauled with new batteries every few years as required. Originally we had our daughters on the contact list, but we got frustrated with trying to get them at times. It could be days before we ever heard back and that could happen while we were in distress. Jim had asked old buddies of his if they would be contacts. Ed was a HAM radio operator and Richard was a tugboat captain. Both of these guys were in almost daily contact with Jim through winlink and Jim would report our position to them and the sea conditions. We had set off the EPIRB around 0538. The coast guard immediately contacted Ed and Richard to verify that we were indeed in trouble and they reported back our position the evening before, our course, our destination and that we had reported rough conditions. Then they went into action.

Almost 4 hours later, as I was at the wheel, I heard the Coast Guard call us on the old VHF radio in the aft cabin. I reached in to answer, “This is Kelaerin”, and immediately felt we just might survive this ordeal after all. They were coming from the Warrenton, Oregon base. They said they were 20 minutes away from us. I told them that incredibly the chart plotter was still functioning and I could give them our exact position, which I did. They informed me that when they arrived they would have only a few minutes with us and we needed to make the decision: they could give us a dewatering pump and we would be on our own or they could extract us from the vessel. I looked at Jim and asked, “which?” and he answered, “the dewatering pump”. Still at this point, I did not envision us leaving Kelaerin. The pilot radioed back that we had to think about that and have our possessions we wanted to take with us ready to go. Jim got back on the wheel for awhile while I changed clothes (a few things were still dry) and I went about the boat collecting hard drives, cameras, etc. This was much harder than I had anticipated. I could not get over all the stuff floating around inside the boat to get to the box where our passports and cash were. Jim’s wallet had been in the chart table and was just gone. My backpack which held my wallet was nowhere to be seen. Jim’s good Nikon camera was in a locker up forward with all kinds of stuff blocking the way. I got the hard drives, the go pro camera and the little Nikon Coolpix I used. Jim’s new LG phone was gone but mine had survived. I had a small dry bag and stuffed everything I could in there. Jim had gone up to get the cash but when he went into the cockpit he pulled it out of his pocket and the cash began flying in the wind out of his hands. I stuffed what was left into a small cooler. Then I went back to steering while Jim continued to try and get water out of the boat.

The Coast Guard continued to call me asking me to count down so their RDF could locate us. For a while I wondered if they would find us in time, but eventually I saw them coming. They informed me that they would drop a swimmer in so I told them we would lower the stern ladder and Jim would stream a heavy line so the swimmer could grab it. I informed them that I was going bare poles at 4.6 knots at that time and there would be no way whatsoever I could turn around. I’m sure they already knew that. I asked if they would drop the swimmer on the port side of the boat as the mainsail was blocking my view off the starboard side. The helicopter dropped low, on the starboard side, and the swimmer jumped in but I could not see any of this, only the blades as they whipped around near me. I was not aware when he came aboard. I kept looking for him not realizing he had already boarded and was discussing the situation with Jim at the stern. I was waiting for the pump and then looked over to see the Coast Guard swimmer coming towards the cockpit and informing me that we were getting off the boat. “No,” I said. “We are staying on the boat, we just need the pump.” Then Jim was behind him and said, “Joy, we are getting off.” I was incredulous. It was beyond comprehension that we would ever leave the boat. I still felt that, although, we were in serious trouble here, that we could save Kelaerin. How could we possibly leave her, after nearly 70,000 miles of cruising and 27 years together with only 150 miles to go? Jim had always said he wouldn’t abandon the boat unless he had to step up into a liferaft. So when he confirmed the Coast Guardsman’s declaration, with all his experience at sea, I knew finally that this battle was over. The sea had won.

Then everything went at hyperspeed. The Coast Guard swimmer said I had just a minute to go and gather my things. This is when good sense left and stupid crazy set in. Since we had not planned to leave the boat, I was not prepared well at all. I ran down below, threw out the computer, my “pink book” with all our personal and important info in it, my dry bag, and the red cooler into the cockpit. The CG had taken over the wheel and he kept telling me to be quick, “Go, go, go” he said. I ran back to the aft cabin (this was when nonsense set in for a bit) to retrieve some jewelry. Later I couldn’t believe I had done that as it had taken precious time when I could have better secured the more important items. I threw out my forearm crutch which I needed to walk and he was now telling me there was no more time and I had to get back to the stern of the boat. I asked, “what about my computer and the red cooler?” and he said he would get it and urged me back. Jim grabbed the red cooler and threw it towards the stern and it lodged out of my reach. I again said, “I need my computer and the red cooler” and the CG swimmer said, again it was OK. He told us to inflate our sospenders and jump. What!!!!! Of course this was the only thing to do, but I hesitated for a second and looked at the giant wave coming at us and said, “I’m not jumping in that” and he said GO NOW, Jim said JUMP and I was in the water. Jim later said he had never seen me swimming so fast. I just wanted to get to that basket being lowered before a wave tumbled me under and I might possibly never come back up. Getting into the basket was easy, I just rolled in and moments later I was in the helicopter. The basket lowered again for Jim and he was helped out into the helicopter. Then the swimmer came up and I was hoping that I would see the computer and the red cooler but, of course, it wasn’t there. I knew it wouldn’t be there. The doors were closed and we started to fly away. I had to restrain myself from shouting that I wanted to go back. The hardest moment of both Jim’s and my lives were when we could see Kelaerin through the window and we both realized she was probably lost forever, that somehow we had failed her when she had been so good to us for so many years.

The ride back was over an hour long. The pilots made conversation with us through miked up helmets they provided. We all introduced ourselves. I was just amazed at how professional and highly trained these guys were. The swimmer had to grab the line behind the boat and pull himself into the ladder as we were going nearly 5 knots, which he did in just seconds. His job was to get us off the boat in short order once Jim had made the decision to leave Kelaerin. He was not cruel or impersonal when ordering me to get going. All through that I realized he had a job to do and could not brook any nonsense from me. He was completely in charge and trained to handle this situation. They must come up against some serious stubbornness when trying to get people off boats and they know how to handle it.

When we were about to land Jim heard the pilot tell ground control that they were landing off base at an alternate site near Astoria as they were down to one minute of fuel. ONE MINUTE!!! They had been at the far extension of their range when they had reached us 180 miles out to sea and no time to spare. When we disembarked the copter, I hugged all four Coasties, Jim shook their hands. The pilots came around with smiles on their faces….a job well done, a successful rescue. Then they told me that I was pretty cool on the radio and it helped them a lot. Thank God, I did something right. The EMTs were waiting for us and now I realized we were without any ID whatsoever, we were soaking wet and shivering, no shoes for me and I didn’t have my forearm crutch so I had to be supported across the tarmac to the ambulance.

My small dry bag which held my phone and the camera filled with water as I swam to the basket. Incredibly the phone still worked and I was able to call our girls. Our daughter, Kelly, lived in Portland so she dropped everything and came to Astoria to pick us up. Our oldest daughter, Erin, was visiting friends in Missoula and immediately booked a flight to Portland. They took excellent care of us, even buying us some clothes and Erin helped us get back online by buying a computer for us until our credit cards came within a couple of days.

I share this story in the hopes it helps anyone else for preparation or even the realization that just anything can happen during a passage. Our biggest mistake that we could have avoided was not putting all our important personal items in a ditch bag. The lifesaving ditch bag had been on a shelf with the handle facing outwards so that we could grab it, but it was of no use if we had to jump in the ocean from a sinking boat and no liferaft. In any case, it wasn’t there after we flipped over and I have no idea as to where it went. I’ll be kicking myself forever for not having the IDs, passports, cash, hard drives and even the little bits of jewelry in a bag ready to go. As for everything else, it is an unimaginable loss. My pictures that we’ve taken over the years were on a hard drive. I had thought about putting them up on the cloud, but didn’t. All our logs were on hard drives, print and computers, but they could not be retrieved in time. I had my collection of courtesy flags and small coins, that were of no value to anyone else but me, in a bag under a setee seat. My assortment of boat cards from the many friends we have made while cruising is gone. We will have to rely on memory now for most of the last 17 years of cruising and that, at 70, is going to be quite a challenge. I’ll have to get on it soon.”

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DAYDREAM - CD25 Cruiser
CRABBY LOU - CD16 Angler
Pat & Patty Anderson, and Baxter! C-Brat # 62!

http://daydreamsloop.blogspot.com
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 15948
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See the discussion on this subject: Here. I did not copy the article, but linked to one of the forums which had the article, and some comments.

We can never second guess what people did when they have to abandon a vessel, and what lead up to that catastrophic moment when the boat rolled, and at that point things went downhill rapidly.

This couple was extremely experienced--they were commodore members of Seven Seas Cruising Association, and had been interviewed by "Noonsite" as very experienced sailors.

They did change their itinerary, based on a daughter wanting to meet them as they pulled into the home port of Bellingham. They were hit by a storm not predicted, but long range weather forecasts are not always that good. One might question if a weather routing service might have made a difference.

The boat was well found, but, one issue was a number of paperback books which came loose, and got into the bilge water. We carried 200 of these on our passages across oceans, but they were "latched down" by a teak bar, and even when we took over a 100* degree roll, they did not come out of their safe places. We did have a 27" Sony TV (one of those big 60# CRT monsters) which was held down by 3/16" cords, which broke when the forces became too much--and it flew across the cabin, landing on the ceiling.

One of the take aways, which applies to our C Dorys, is that you want to keep the ditch bag close at hand, and always ready to go. Copies of passports, driver's licenses (or the real items), important insurance papers, SSD with copies of all of your computer files, and significant amounts of cash should be with that ditch bag. The ditch bag should be fully waterproof, and have a way of floatation--such as attachment to a floating cushion or fender etc--and attached to your person.

Their lives were saved by the CG operating at the maximum range. That they had been in HAM radio contact on the Pacific Sea Farer's net, assumed the CG, that they might be in range. A working hand held, waterproof VHF radio, is very important, as is the EPRIB, PLB which sent out the distress call, when the SSB radio was broken, and VHF did not raise any other vessels, when 180 miles off the coast.

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Bob Austin
Thataway
Thataway (Ex Seaweed) 2007 25 C Dory May 2018
Thisaway 2006 22' CDory November 2011 to May 2018
Caracal 18 140 Suzuki 2007 to present
Thataway TomCat 255 150 Suzukis June 2006 thru August 2011
C Pelican; 1992, 22 Cruiser, 2002 thru 2006
Frequent Sea; 2003 C D 25, 2007 thru 2009
KA6PKB
Home port: Pensacola FL
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Hunkydory



Joined: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 2053
City/Region: Cokeville, Wyoming
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C-Dory Year: 2000
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Hunkydory
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that was gripping! & although we are not ocean crossing cruisers relatable, especially being also 70. This shows what happened can happen & how important emergency communications & keeping your wits to make the best out of a bad situation can be. I think the best one can hope for in this scenario is to come out of it alive & this they managed to do. The experience is extremely well written & very few could have handled it any better. A ditch bag is of course important & we have one with much of the important stuff mentioned in it, but if our little 22 ever gets flipped it will do about as much good as there’s. There are somethings one can’t prepare for & the risk must be accepted if truly going adventuring as this couple did.

Pat, thanks for sharing.

Jay

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I will not waste my days in trying to prolong them------Jack London
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gulfcoast john



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
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City/Region: PENSACOLA
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C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Cat O' Mine
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story, thanks for sharing!
We find that Google Drive (free for more gb than we will ever use) is great for high priority stuff like our specs prescriptions (if we break them in Canada), Boating Safety Courses, copies of credit cards, insurance paperwork, etc works great.
No need for cash flying out of your hands like this story. (After a North Korea EMP strike, all fiat currecy is just paper, and we should all have silver dollars...but that is a different story line).
We store our password file as a password protected Exell file on Google Drive, and that works great from anywhere.
Local cash is great, but don't let it fly out of your hands while your boat is sinking.
A long time ago we seemed to be stuck in Hong Kong, but with an AMEX card it became a, to quote, 'money is money' no-problem situation,
John

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Pat Anderson



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 8078
City/Region: Birch Bay, WA
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Daydream
Photos: Daydream and Crabby Lou
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob, I did not read your linked article from the other thread, but even so I probably should have realized your post was about the same incident. Larry Grunden is in the Squalicum Yacht Club (as these people also may be, I don't know). We gave a Great Loop presentation to SYC back in May. Getting an EPIRB and putting together a proper ditch bag are now on my "before our next significant cruise" list!
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 15948
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pat,
Any discussions of these types of losses are always productive, and the more we think about what might happen, and be prepared even in small boats is a plus for all of us.

Another forum discussion at length, including some CG personal, helicopter pilots etc is at this link on Cruisers Forum.

A loft of the forum has taken the turn about why not use either a para-anchor, or or Jordan Series Drogue. This type of discussion is valid. We had a series drogue, but even in one storm of serious conditions, we did not deploy it, because we were making progress toward our destination (the Azores) and I never felt the boat was in danger. But, we did consider it, and when the conditions have deteriorated to the point when the skipper thinks the boat is at risk, then it may be too late. The real plus of a series drogue, is that it is deployed from the stern of an ocean crossing type of vessel, and is multiple small drogues or mini parachute type of devices. The boat still makes some way, and only the stern is exposed, so the chance of a side to side roll is diminished. There is also some chance of a "pitchpole" where the boat goes end over end, and almost always results in dismasting, and extensive serious damage. Jordan Series Drogue.


The sea anchor, or para-anchor, is an entirely different device, and is streamed from the bow. It should allow the vessel to very slowly drift backward, and is safer in a boat which has vulnerable structure at the stern, as many modern sailboats do. This would be more appropriate for a C Dory. Para tech makes one suitable for a a boat up to 25 feet for about $400.

The C Dory with open cockpit should never be anchored or a drogue deployed from the stern, which will risk the filling of the cockpit with water, and this is why I would consider a sea anchor or para anchor, if power was lost off shore in a storm.
There are pro's and cons to this. One issue is that many boat swill not remain head to wind, and will drift with the wind on one side or the other, increasing the possibility of rolling.

The issue of "heaving too" was brought up. It works in moderate winds, but when one gets into survival type of storms, there is a greater risk of rolling the boat than when running off with a series drogue. The traditional full keel boat does this far better than many modern fin keel, spade rudders, racers and cruisers.
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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City/Region: Leesburg
State or Province: VA
C-Dory Year: 2008
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SoBELLE
Photos: SoBelle
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gulfcoast john wrote:
... (After a North Korea EMP strike, all fiat currecy is just paper, and we should all have silver dollars...but that is a different story line). ...


If it comes to that I'd rather have a warehouse full of toilet paper and cigarettes.
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BillE



Joined: 09 Jun 2016
Posts: 148
City/Region: Nashville
State or Province: TN
C-Dory Year: 2004
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: TBD
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

----"If it comes to that I'd rather have a warehouse full of toilet paper and cigarettes."

Booze and bullets are the best emergency currencies! Someone will always be willing to trade for one or the other.

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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
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City/Region: Sequim
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C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sleepy-C
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, how timely a post. Thank you Pat for doing that. I have been up in the Broughtons, and stopped at Sullivan Bay for an ice cream (and fuel) and noticed a book that looked interesting. "Unsinkable" by Dee Saunders, who happens to be from Whidbey Island, and writes about their experience in a 50 ft Robert Perry designed Tayana. They left Mexico headedfor Tahiti, and were just into their first night out when they were hit by a Hanjin freighter and sunk in 90 seconds. Three on board, all survived. The story involves what it took to be rescued and to put their lives back together. It would be a great resource for the couple in the OP story.

Yes, some things to learn. My ditch bag is going to be changed. Making and keeping contacts is not easy, especially where there are long, open, empty spaces. I do carry a PLB, but no EPIRB. That decision was a space thing, and days on the boat thing.

I used to carry a SPOT tracker. It has it's place and that cocept may be revisited, with the advantages of the newer updated devices ability to send text.

In the Saunders story, they had an EPIRB, manually activated it for over 2 hours, and it's signal was never received by NOAA. Later, they confirmed a satellite crossing time over their area during the activation time, but no signal recieved. Unfortunately they did not give the EPIRB brand, but did document with the Coast Guard and NOAA the lack of signal. There is also info in the book about the EPIRB makers response.

I guess there are lessons in redundancy that are to be learned as well.

Great thread. Thanks for the input to all.

Harvey
SleepyC Moon

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Though in our sleep we are not conscious of our activity or surroundings, we should not, in our wakefulness, be unconscious of our sleep.
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 15948
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harvey,

Offshore there is a reason to carry both PLB and EPIRB. Currently we had 3 PLB--one for each of us, and one in the ditch bag. When crossing oceans in the 80's and 90's there were not yet PLB, so we carried two EPIRB. One EPIRB was in the life raft, and one by the companionway, so it could be reached from the inside or outside. Incidentally, in heavy weather, it is always prudent to close and dog or latch the companionway door when in heavy weather, as well as always be clipped on, and have life jacket on when on deck.

Being run down: I have know personally of 5 vessels which were run down, and 3 other presumptive (no survivors). I have read of many more. Several of these cases were by fishing vessels. I have had to take evasive action at least a dozen times in about 200,000 miles at sea. Many times there was no response from the larger ship's bridge. I read that some ships do not have their AIS activated at sea (including US war ships--at least in the past). Going to sea and standing watch is very serious business. Although we have friends who never stood night watch, we always did.

Another discussion I recently read, was about getting weather information. Using HAM or SSB radio to download GRIB files via PACTOR III/IV, vs satellite reception, vs a dedicated weather FAX. We always had a dedicated weather FAX. New these days are about $2500, but used as little as $300. Furuno has a "black box" FAX which hooks up to a MFD or computer for $1000 or $300 used. Many of the dedicated FAX will select the best frequency (Propagation) and time automatically. So you just leave it on standby, and it will come on and print out the data.

Harvey, thanks for alerting us to that story. I only read the first two chapters of "unsinkable" which are on Amazon, and will probably download the whole book (only $3 on Kindle edition). But I saw one critical mistake--that was allowing the guest to take a watch alone for the first night. We had many very experienced sailors join us for passages across oceans. But one of us had stayed on watch with the guests at least for the first night so they understood what our rules were. Second, they had turned off the radar, to conserve battery power. That was something we never did--and we kept an intrusion alarm set. The watch keeper was to scan the horizon and check the RADAR every 5 minutes. Often this gave use good advance notice of a ship. If the recreational boat is going 6 knots and the ship going 16 knots the closing speed can be as high as 22 knots. The Tanaya 52 is a great vessel (a friend owns one, we have sailed on), but fiberglass and steel....steel wins!. As I read the book watches were 4 hours (probably a little long, we compromised at 3 hours), and they started at 1800, but didn't start the schedule until 2200, the collision was at 0100, with "Joe" the guest on watch.

Its a dangerous place. The sea always wins. You have to do everything in your power to keep that from happening.
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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 9091
City/Region: Sequim
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sleepy-C
Photos: SleepyC
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob, you are right. Joe was a guest and though an experienced sailer and racer, he was not experienced in open ocean navigation and piloting. I agree, the radar should not have been off, and the long watches are an issue. 3 or 4 hour day watches are fine, but at night with 3 on board a 2 hour watch would still give near 4 hour sleep time and past 2 hour night watch things can get fuzzy.

I believe their boat was a steel hull, but tonnage rules. Turns out there is a big question of whether the freighter had functional radar at the time.

It is a pretty good read, and thanks for the tip about it being available in Amazon. Good to know.

Harvey
SleepyC Moon
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 15948
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tayana 52 is definitely fiberglass--and the book mentions that several times in the first chapter. Even if it was steel--it would have been probably been sunk. I did once see a steel boat which had a side crushed by banging on a sea wall during a hurricane, and the owner, just welded up the gaps, redone the inside furniture, moved the chainplates, shortened the rigging on that side, and continued on around the world! He had returned to BC, and was going put the boat on the hard, and make the hull fair again.

Even if the ship had functional radar, (I don't know what type of radar reflector if any was fitted on "Clambake") it is easy to miss a sailboat, even 52' long, if the gain is turned down. We used a Firdall Blipper (Main mast) and Davis EchoMaster (Mizzen mast). We documented that we were seen at 13 miles by a research vessel..but that was after we asked for confirmation--and the person I was talking to (Robert Ballard) was specifically looking for us. We could see most large ships at 12 to 16 miles.

We used 3 hour watches both in racing (usually 10 man crews--so 5 on a watch), and cruising--2 to 5 total on passages. With 3 standing watches, you would get 6 hours of un-interrupted sleep. When just the two of us, we often took a nap during the day, although no formal watches, we did break up the navigation into 4 hour segments. So that one could get 4 hours of sleep if they needed. Some like to "Dog" or rotate the times of watches, and that works better with 3 shifts. Marie and I do fine with fixed watch schedule. For us the first and second nights are the most difficult, until we got into the "swing" of the change of sleep patterns. Often at the end of a passage, we would have been fine to keep on going, since most people adjust to the change of sleep pattern. Not sure how you see it from the sleep specialist's prospective. I have known a number of people who do fine with 3 to 4 hours of sleep. (not for me!)
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SeaSpray



Joined: 11 Mar 2004
Posts: 960
City/Region: Brentwood, CA
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2004
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SeaSpray
Photos: SeaSpray
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little off topic but related. I recently watched the PBS show Chasing Shackleton. A re-creation of the 800 mile sail in a 25ft lifeboat in the southern ocean.

I was a little surprised by the video of the on board cameras. With 6 guys on a small boat in period clothing and very wet and cold, it did look very uncomfortable. I did not think the video reflected the conditions that were described - 50 knot winds and 18 ft seas. Maybe it is just that video can not accurately depict ocean conditions.

Still a very interesting show if you have not seen it.

Steve
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smckean (Tosca)



Joined: 18 Jan 2014
Posts: 278
City/Region: Guemes Island (Anacortes)
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Tosca
Photos: Tosca
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Still a very interesting show if you have not seen it.

Saw it......fantastic

I fancy myself a bit of an adventurer; but I am a piker compared to these guys.
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Marco Flamingo



Joined: 09 Jul 2015
Posts: 687
City/Region: Seattle
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2004
C-Dory Model: 16 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Limpet
Photos: Limpet
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thataway wrote:
This would be more appropriate for a C Dory. Para tech makes one suitable for a boat up to 25 feet for about $400.


I have one of these on board. https://amazon.com/gp/product/B001FVQHAU/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The large size seems a little big for the CD 16, but I haven't tried it yet. I was thinking that I might need it when trolling, but the Yamaha 50 at idles seems plenty slow and dragging extra gear through the water when fishing can lead to complications.

The problem with deploying a sea anchor, especially on the 16, is that by the time I need it I shouldn't be climbing out on the bow. The model that I bought doesn't come with a line or the dump/retrieve line. But for $35 it is very well made.

Mark
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