Massive Southern Ocean Storm Hits Golden Globe Fleet

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  2. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  3. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Considering the criticism modern yachts face, it's interesting to see how many older designs are getting into major trouble in this event.
     
  4. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    CT, that is an utterly tactless bit of opportunism. Some of us like old boats and tend to root for them and their skippers. Allow us our moments.
     
  5. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Huh? I've got an old wooden boat myself. I've been watching the GG. I wasn't stopping anyone from having their moment.

    However, here and in other places some posters have abused those who sail modern boats and claimed that they are vastly less seaworthy than modern boats. They have called the fans of modern boats "egotistical maniacs", "irresponsible", "imbecilic", "cheats" who "SUCK", and their boats "pathetic".

    Given the foul personal abuse the fans of older style boats have thrown around, it's surely reasonable to point out that yet again we see that when older boats are put on the same sort of racecourse as newer ones, the older styles often fail and may do so as often as many newer designs.

    I didn't abuse the older boats, their fans or their owners. I had assumed that the GG would have a much higher finish rate than the pro events on Open type boats. It's hard to see why we cannot find the current situation informative.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  6. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    UPDATE on Tomy and Gregor:
    The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris reached Tomy’s yacht at 05:30 UTC and her crew successfully transferred him to the ship. The Joint Rescue Co-ordingation Centre in Canberra which co-ordingated the rescue reported: “Tomy is concious, talking and onboard the Orisis. Australian and Indian long range P8 Orion reconnaissance aircraft are circling overhead. Thuriya’s position is 39 32.79S and 78 3.29E

    Weather conditions are favourable: 15-20knots from the South West, 2m swells and good visibility. A radio briefing was held between the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on Reunion Island, a doctor located on Amsterdam Island, and the master of the Osiris before the French crew boarded Thuriya from Zodiac inflatable boats to administer immediate first-aid and assess his condition.

    Abhilash Tomy, 39, is a Commander in the Indian Navy and has been confined to his bunk, unable to move since his yacht was rolled through 360° and dismasted in a vicious Southern Ocean storm last Friday.

    Fellow GGR skipper Gregor Mcguckin whose yacht Hanley Energy Endurance was also dismasted in the same storm last week, is making 2.2 knots towards Thuriya’s position, sailing under jury rig. The 32-year old Irishman is still 25 miles to the West and in radio contact with the reconnaissance aircraft. He is not in distress but has asked for a controlled evacuation from his yacht.
     
  7. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    I don't know that anyone who has read the story of the original race should be very surprised.
     
  8. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    A small boat (under say 100 ft) crossing the Indian Ocean is like an ant crossing a sidewalk. It may do so many times but may end up getting squashed during its first attempt. This ocean has sunk a small cruise ship. You can still watch it go down on Youtube.
     
  9. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    There are at least three possible explainations for this:

    1.) the modern, lighter, faster boats are actually better or at least just as good,
    2.) the sailors of the more modern boats are much more experienced than the typical sailor in this race, and
    3.) these older designs are much slower, so spend much more time in these dangerous waters, which increases the likelyhood of them getting clobbered.

    If you had to pick just one of these possible explanations, which one would it be?
     
  10. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    Indeed, there are many explanations but I think the point is that one should not generalise on the seaworthiness of old vs new boats simply based on their age.

    Preparation and campaign funding might also be significant factors in how well prepared the vessel is, new or old.

    Attention has also been drawn to the accident due to the human interest factor. Had Tomy not been injured, he likely would have sailed his way to safety under jury rig with barely a mention in world news.
     
  11. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    OzFred's picked it, IMHO. Not only shouldn't we generalise boats because of their age, we shouldn't even look at specific boats without some in-depth knowledge. For instance, a while ago I was lucky enough to talk to Lou Abrahams, one of the most experienced Sydney-Hobart racers, and he said that a couple of his boats went from being poor seaboats to good ones or vice-versa, depending on the modifications to the rig and foils. Such modifications would not be noticed by those who make blanket claims.

    I'd say option (1) sounds good but with the cautionary note that it's an incredibly complicated subject with many different aspects. For example, I was able to ask the enormously experienced Fastnet and Hobart winner Syd Fischer whether he'd have been safer if he had sailed the '98 Hobart in his 1969 vintage heavy-displacement S&S 49 footer, instead of the carbon Farr 50 he was on. Syd turned to one of his long-time crewman and said "She (the S&S) would have been a half-tide rock, wouldn't she" in a fairly dismissive manner. Similarly, when I asked Lou about the ultimate stability problems his Dubois one tonner may have faced, his answer was that they never let the boat heel that much.

    So IMHO safety gets down to many things including those not covered by LPSs and other criteria. A boat that has more freeboard and lighter displacement means you don't get green water smashing the deck. A boat that goes faster means you get to shelter quicker. The same boats may be inferior (or may not) when something goes really wrong, but maybe things are less likely to go really wrong in expert hands than with old boats. In less expert hands it could be a different story.

    Ggggguest, there was arguably a difference with the earlier race in that it was all so new and some of the entrants (such as Blyth and Ridgeway) were very inexperienced indeed; some (Tetley, Bill King) were pushing the limits of design; and Crowhurst was....well Crowhurst. I just assumed that after 50 years or whatever of developments in singlehanded sailing, rope, engine, electronics and sail tech etc, the finish rate would be much higher.
     
  12. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    It seems to me that just about everyone in the '68 race was to some extent underprepared. Even Robin Knox-Johnson. But he knew his vessel well from years of sailing her extensively. Tetly knew his boat well too but it fell apart on him. The French skipper should have won the race but decided to abandon it.

    I think the time has come to be honest about the element of luck. The fellow who claimed he and his crew would never let his boat heel over that far forgets to take into account that the right breaking wave would be more than happy to do it for him.

    I have come to believe that speed is also an element of safety. Which has a better chance of safely crossing a sidewalk; an ant or a cricket? My vote goes for the cricket even though it would be just as thoroughly crushed as the ant if it were unlucky.

    It is probably possible to design a boat which could be all but guaranteed to come up with the rig intact after a rollover. But it would probably be an absolute dog when it comes to speed, and would almost certainly finish last if just one other boat finished the race.

    I also believe that the older designs are more seaworthy than their crews, and require far less sophisticated equipment to keep them on course. Some have been sailing for over a century. They are also often less expensive (for their displacement) to buy and to maintain.
     
  13. Dolfiman
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    Dolfiman Senior Member

    I think one can add , for Vendée Globe sailors at least, the daily reception of meteo maps with reliable forecasts for the next 3 to 5 days, which, combined with their speed potential and their accurate knowledge of their position (thanks to gps), allows a real strategy of avoidance of the worst wind/Sea state conditions. During the last VG race, a big storm occurred and extended in the South of Tasmania. 3 boats were directly under its threat. JP Dick decided to turn abruptly North up to go around Tasmania (!), Y. Elies at the contrary fully stopped during 24 h and J.Le Cam who was then retarded slowed its boat to less than 12 Knots while returning to the level of Y. Elies. None of them were catched by the worst of this storm.
     
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  14. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    No, Lou Abrahams, the former Hobart winner I quoted, wasn't an idiot or inexperienced enough to "fail to take into account" the danger from the "right breaking wave" into account. Why would you assume he was silly enough to ignore that factor? Why do you assume that you know better than someone who did the very rough '70 Hobart, the '98 Hobart, the 1979 Fastnet and other events?

    As you say, he and others believe that speed is safety and therefore a potentially increased risk of being rolled IF they copped the right breaking wave was more than compensated for by increased speed and other issues. He followed an approach of actively steering the boat through waves and avoiding most of the really bad ones. The average sailor may not be able to do that but people who are on top of their sport can do things the average person can barely imagine.
     

  15. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    he
    A fair question. The answer is that I don't. What I did think, at the time of reading this quote, was that it came off as somewhat arrogant and maybe a wee bit foolhardy. I had no idea of whom this person was or of what he had accomplished.

    And my statement was aimed more at his endorsement of the boat rather than at him, personally.

    I have a great deal of concern about the influence that ever faster and ever more expensive racing boats has over cruising boat design. These fast machines are safe mainly because they are made of very high-quality materials with excellent workmanship; and are sailed by skilled athletes. In this case, the faster boats are probably better than the slower ones of generations past.

    But the translation of their design characteristics into cruising boats troubles me somewhat.
    Here, in order to keep costs down, not so high-quality materials and maybe not so excellent workmanship are often used.
    On older, slower designs, this may not have been such an issue. This is because the safety factors were probably higher and the point loads were almost certainly less.
     
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