Massive Southern Ocean Storm Hits Golden Globe Fleet

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

  1. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    The GG race has some strange restrictions including no use of radar allowed. Anybody who sails the Southern Ocean today knows you're very likely a sitting duck without radar. All of today's respected races use it. It's impossible to avoid squalls without it. There are enough of them you'll get clobbered for sure.

    The organizers of this race really should re-visit the old rules and strongly consider updating them if they could improve crew safety. In my opinion this could have been avoided if safety was truly the TOP consideration.
     
  2. Doug Lord
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  3. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Holy crap! He was hanging on from the top of the mast...then fell down. I've never read a sailing story like that. I would have cut the halyards, let the sails drop and tie them down somehow. Our fleet hit a couple of massive storms back in 2013 down there. We had 60-80 knot winds, which later gusted to over 120 knots. We were ready for it though. We saw the storm coming at us on the radar. I really feel for these boats with no radar and other equipment restrictions.

    From the article:

    “When the first knockdown happened, I was swept off my feet. I fell down to the mast and put my hands around it. I got swept outward to the tip of the mast. And then a few seconds later when the boat straightened, I found myself hanging from the top of the mast.”

    The first knockdown was only the beginning of a nightmare that would test Tomy’s endurance and willpower for the next three days. As Tomy fell from the top of the mast, his hand got entangled in a wire rope.

    “My watch got entangled in it. I was hanging by one hand. I felt my wrist would crack. Then the watch strap snapped and I came crashing down to the boom attached to the mast on the deck.”

    150 kmph winds, 14 metre-high waves, this beast was something else, says sailor Abhilash Tomy https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/150-kmph-winds-14-metre-high-waves-this-beast-was-something-else-says-sailor-abhilash-tomy/story-BxMirySXkvLVKJk3GUpaDJ.html

    He's very lucky to be alive that's all I can say.
     
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  4. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    I seem to recall from another source that he was told the storm was forming on top of him, so no chance to avoid it. As he said: "A cyclone was forming in the sea and I was in the middle of it."

    An extraordinary tale, it seems that not being able to get the boat head–to–wind, or properly hove–to, was a big part of his problem. But who practices heaving–to in +60kn winds? What preparation (as in prior to the event) is required?
     
  5. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    The problem with the cyclone and solo sailing is they eventually wear you out. We got stuck in one for a solid 72 hours, but we had spare crew rotating on the helm. Even then it kicked our ***.

    I really feel for the GG sailors. Hats off to them. Hopefully we’ll see a good book come from this race.
     
  6. Doug Lord
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  7. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Two words: Brutal race

    It appears Loic will be getting a rescue soon. Fortunately he got his engine running again and will be motoring closer to the rescue vessels. Hopefully the transfer goes well. They're only 600 miles from Perth. I would consider taking extra diesel and motoring the boat back. Why ditch it if you can motor back?

    "At 01:22 UTC Francis Tolan, the skipper of the S/V Alizes II, a Beneteau Ocean 43 participating in the Long Route solo circumnavigation, positioned some 300 miles NW of Laaland's position, offered his assistance. Then at 03:14 UTC, the bulk carrier Shiosai, which had been heading west across the Great Australian Bight, also agreed to assist, and altered course towards the distress position."

    Golden Globe Race - Day 112: Operations begin to rescue Loïc Lepage from his dismasted yacht https://www.sail-world.com/news/211394/Golden-Globe-Race-day-112-Lo%C3%AFc-Lepage-rescue
     
  8. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    I've already been interested in the high casualty rate of these classic boats. The fact that a Beneteau Oceanis 43 a few hundred miles away is able to potentially be of some assistance is interesting - many people would claim they are of dubious oceangoing ability. From the Longue Route reports it appears that the Oceanis is in the same conditions that crippled Loic, but the Benny is handling them and on its way.

    The Longue Route, the round the world commemoration of Moittessier's "non race" seems to have more modern boats (including a ply tri) and a fewer boat issues. It doesn't indicate that newer boats are more seaworthy, but the record of the GG boats does seem to be evidence that older boats are not proving to be any better when placed in the sort of event that modern boats do.
     
  9. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    From what I’ve read there have been multiple issues aside from the boats that have contributed to the demise of over half the fleet:

    -Bad luck with weather.

    -The grind of solo sailing. At some point you need to rest. If the weather is questionable and you sleep with too much sail up...that’s risky!!!

    -Older rigging (perhaps) on some of the boats.

    -Broken wind vanes, tillers, rudders.

    It’s good the boats are restricted from proceeding too far south in the Southern Ocean. Winds are 30-40 knots faster down there.

    The boats that have outshined the rest are the Rustler 36. The top 4 boats are sailing them. Rugged long keel boats with good speed.

    I hope the other boats can avoid further damage and wish the crews all the strength & alertness they can muster. They’ve got a long way to go. This crazy race is far from over.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  10. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

  11. Doug Lord
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  12. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Smooth rescue. Very glad he’s safe!
     
  13. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Yes, there are doubtless multiple causes. Many of them, like broken steering and exhaustion, applies to the modern boats. However, when modern boats suffer incidents due to multiple causes, there are often cries of "they are all dangerous!!!" in places like here. There often seems to be a tendency to blame incidents on the general type of the boat, if one does not like that type. If one does like that type, the blame goes on other causes.

    I confess that I'm surprised by the very high failure rate, and personally I've heard enough stories about some Beneteaus to make me think they're an unsuitable boat for solo round the world non-stop sailing, but it looks as if I'm being proven wrong yet again.

    I wasn't aware that the GG boats were prevented from going south. Interesting info.
     
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  14. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    All the races in the Southern Ocean typically establish an "ice line", which is established by the most recent latitude an iceberg was sighted. Race organizers typically reduce the latitude a bit to create a "buffer zone" to minimize the likelihood of a collision at sea, which could be catastrophic of course. I also read these boats were also restricted to using Dacron sails (e.g. to match 1968 equipment), so that means shredded sails are in increased likelihood. If you catch the slightest sense of a gale coming you had better reduce sail or risk losing your cloth.

    All in all a good portion of this fleet has encountered a combination of bad luck and bad weather. It's also a non-stop race, which means if you do need to stop for repairs you're out of the race unless you race in the "Chischester" division, which allows one pit stop.

    Bad weather and luck aside, this race is very interesting to say the least. No fatalities so far. Just equipment & gear issues from the very tough weather.
     

  15. Doug Lord
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