SAR

  • ABANDONING BE GOOD TOO: The Skipper Responds to the Builder's Response

    Hank Schmitt

    As many of you know, I served as crew on Be Good Too, the Alpha 42 catamaran that was abandoned approximately 300 miles east of Chesapeake Bay in January. I published an account of the episode here on WaveTrain (which was also syndicated on SAILfeed) and also wrote a feature story for SAIL Magazine. In May I also published, without comment, a response from Gregor Tarjan, president of Aeroyacht, builder of the Alpha catamaran. (Gregor's statement was also published on SAILfeed.) Hank Schmitt (see photo up top), the paid skipper aboard Be Good Too, contacted me from Bermuda as soon as he read Gregor's statement and asked if I would publish a response from him. Hank's delivery schedule has now simmered down a bit and he found time this week to draft the following statement:

  • ATLANTIC 57 CAPSIZE: Crew of Leopard Saved 400 Miles North of the Dominican Republic

    After some initial confusion over the vessel’s identity, it has been confirmed that a Chris White-designed Atlantic 57 catamaran named Leopard (as opposed to a production Leopard catamaran built by Robertson & Caine) was capsized last week well north of the DR while on a delivery from Virginia to St. Martin. All three crew onboard, led by skipper Charles Nethersole, were rescued from the overturned hull by MV Aloe, as documented in the video above, taken from a Coast Guard C-130 search plane that monitored the evacuation.

  • ATLANTIC 57 CAPSIZE: More Details on the Fate of Leopard

    Leopard upright

    Inspired in part by disparaging critiques made on the relevant forum thread at Sailing Anarchy, Leopard’s skipper Charles Nethersole got back to me earlier than I expected to discuss details of the catamaran’s capsize last week. We had a long conversation this morning, and I also had a long conversation yesterday afternoon with Leopard’s designer Chris White.

    The main critique on the SA thread has been that the crew was negligent, given the unsettled weather conditions, in not having someone constantly stationed in the outside cockpit ready to cast off sheets in the event of a sudden squall or something similar. After debriefing Nethersole, as well as studying written statements prepared by him and his two crew, Carolyn Bailey and Bert Jno Lewis, it seems pretty clear to me however that the event was so instantaneous, with so little warning, there was nothing anyone on deck could have done to prevent the capsize. Indeed, it seems the crew was in fact lucky to have all been inside at the time, as I should think anyone outside might easily have been lost.

  • AZORES RESCUE OPS: 12 Crew Recovered Off 5 Yachts; One Young Girl Dead

    Swan 44

    Bummer. Here I was looking forward to telling you guys all about the singlehanded passage I just did on Lunacy from St. Martin to Bermuda and instead I think I better go into this first. Details are pretty sketchy, but it seems five different yachts caught in a bad blow about 500 miles south of the Azores all called for help two days ago. A large SAR operation coordinated out of Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel, which involved five different aircraft and four different ships, resulted in a dozen people being rescued. Tragically, one of these, a 6-year-old French girl who spent seven hours in the water after her family's Lagoon 400 catamaran capsized and sank, died from hypothermia after she was recovered.

  • BE GOOD TOO REVISITED: The EPIRB Question, Why She Didn't Sink, What Happened to Gunther, and a Shameless Book Plug

    BGT abandoned

    There has been much less furor online about the rediscovery of the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too (hull no. 1) on a beach in Scotland than there was when we abandoned her three years ago. Which is a good thing for sure. I was disappointed to see, however, that Gregor Tarjan of Aeroyacht, formerly president of Alpha Yachts, has seized on the boat’s reappearance to again malign her crew. If you take a moment to read his full rant here, you’ll see his primary accusation, the “worst” thing that happened, was this: “The crew DID NOT leave the activated EPIRB aboard to mark the 40’ vessel for other mariners. BE GOOD TOO would for 3 years represent a deadly threat to other small boat sailors.”

  • LONG WAY HOME: Charter Cat Lost on Delivery Returns to South Africa Upside Down One Year Later

    Capsized cat

    It was a little over a year ago, on December 14, 2014, that skipper Anthony Murray (58) and two crew members, Reginald Robertson (60) and Jaryd Payne (20), set out from Cape Town to deliver a new Leopard 44 catamaran into charter service in Phuket, Thailand. The un-named vessel, described variously in reports online as belonging to Sunsail or the Moorings, was last heard from via sat phone on January 18, 2015, at which time it was in some proximity to Cyclone Bansi in the Indian Ocean well west of Australia. Family members of the missing crew reported the vessel missing 10 days after it failed to arrive on schedule in Thailand in early February of last year and since then have worked tirelessly trying to figure out what happened to it. After multiple sightings of an overturned catamaran east of Mauritius and Reunion and now most recently off the South African coast, a tugboat now has what is very likely to be the missing cat in tow and is headed back to Cape Town.

  • LOST CHARTER CAT: Sunsail Versus Families of the Missing Crew Members

    Cat plaque

    This is getting increasingly intense. The overturned Leopard 44 catamaran that set out from South Africa on a routine delivery and was lost in the Indian Ocean over a year ago, then miraculously reappeared upside down off South Africa just last month, was taken in tow, and then lost again, still has not been rediscovered. Unfortunately. Meanwhile, Sunsail, the boat’s owner, and the families of the missing crew members have today released separate statements that are decidedly at odds. At this point I am not prepared to comment on this conflict. You can read the statements yourself and draw your own conclusions. The image up top is the photo referenced in the Sunsail statement.

  • LOUIS JORDAN IN THE GULF STREAM: Rescued After 66 Days Adrift on an Alberg 35

    Jordan and boat

    Lots of buzz right now on the InterWeb about this story: Louis Jordan, age 36 (or 7?), who was airlifted to shore by the Coast Guard yesterday off a German-flagged container ship, M/V Houston Express, that found him adrift some 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras. Many of the stories you find online state he was found atop his boat's overturned hull, but this seems highly unlikely. No way could you cling to an upside-down full-keeled Pearson Alberg 35 for two months. No way could such a heavily ballasted boat with so little beam and so much deadrise in its hull stay inverted for very long. And no way could the boat stay inverted for much time without sinking.

  • MID-BLIZZARD EVACUATION: Australians Rescued Off $10K eBay Boat

    Sedona hoist

    Yet another mid-winter North Atlantic Coast Guard helicopter rescue. Not off a new boat this time, but off an old 43-foot Carroll Marine racing sled, Sedona (built in 1995), that an Australian, Jason McGlashan, age 37, bought on eBay for $10,000 US. Apparently the price was too low to resist, and Jason and his dad, Reg, age 66, flew into Rhode Island a while back to prep the boat for a delivery back to Oz. The eyebrow-raising bits are that a) they departed from Jamestown last Friday, right in front of the huge blizzard we endured this weekend, and b) apparently the Coast Guard, as well as someone who had worked on the boat, strongly warned the duo not to leave.

  • NATHAN CARMAN: Suspicious Circumstances Surrounding His Week Adrift in a Liferaft

    Carman in raft

    Not a sailing story this one, but it does involve boats, and it’s a fascinating breaking news item. The question raised: could a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome possibly have contrived to kill his mother by 1) luring her out on a fishing trip 100 miles offshore in a 32-foot open boat, 2) scuttling the boat, and 3) taking to a liferaft without said mother (or an EPIRB) to await rescue??? Such was the noxious cloud of skepticism that followed Nathan Carman ashore after the aptly named freighter Orient Lucky last week plucked him from the raft (see image up top) in which he’d been floating helplessly for eight days.

  • NOAH CULLEN: Young Sailor's Body Found Aboard Sunken Sailboat

    Jubilee dive

    A mystery that has tortured the sailing and diving community in the Upper Florida Keys for most of the past two months was resolved early this week when two technical divers descended about 300 feet and found human remains inside the sunken sailboat Jubilee, which had been missing since August 4. The remains are believed to be those of Noah Cullen, Jubilee's 24-year-old skipper, who was last seen alive sailing his boat singlehanded in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary shortly before a strong thunderstorm swept through the area.

  • RAINMAKER ABANDONED: Gunboat 55 Hull No. 1 Dismasted, Crew Evacuated by Helo

    Rainmaker rescue

    For me this is like déjà vu all over again. All this month I've been thinking about where I was a year ago, dangling from a wire beneath a Coast Guard helicopter many miles offshore with a busted catamaran beneath me. This year's victim, unfortunately, is an award-winning Gunboat 55, hull no. 1, Rainmaker, which got dismasted yesterday after getting raked by a 70-knot whiteout squall about 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras. The five-member crew elected to abandon the vessel and was evacuated by a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter operating near the limit of its range.

    Gunboat CEO Peter Johnstone broke the story late yesterday on his Facebook page and described the incident to me in more detail early this afternoon.

  • REBEL HEART: Lawsuit Against Sat-Phone Provider

    Charlotte and Eric Kaufman

    Charlotte and Eric Kaufman, who brought the Wrath of the Mass Media down on their heads when they evacuated their Hans Christian 36 Rebel Heart back in April, have filed suit in San Diego against Whenever Communications LLC (doing business as Satellite Phone Store), their Iridium satellite phone service provider. As they described in their radio interview with Ira Glass on This American Life in May, they were using their phone to seek medical advice for their sick 1-year-old daughter when their service was intentionally terminated by the provider. Believing their HF radio had been disabled by a deck leak and that they had no other means of seeking help for their daughter, they set off their EPIRB and so ignited the chain of events that has since made them notorious.

  • SEA NYMPH RESCUE: Two Crazy Ladies and Their Dogs Adrift for Five Months

    Sea Nymph

    This story has been getting a ton of play in the mainstream media, plus of course the usual sailing-forum trolls who pounce like hyenas on any abandoned-boat mishap have been happily feasting on it. It does involve an unusual set of facts. Starting with the crew: one woman with 10 years of coastal sailing experience, another with exactly zero sailing experience, and two dogs, rather large ones, presumably with limited experience. Then there’s the fairly mild nature of the equipment failures that led to their drifting across the Pacific aboard their boat Sea Nymph for five months: an engine that got wet and wouldn’t start and a bent mounting bolt that compromised one spreader in their rig. Finally there’s the latest development: they claim to have been making radio distress calls throughout their ordeal, but it turns out they also had an EPIRB they never activated.

  • SINGLEHANDER BILL SHAW LOSES HIS BOAT: A Very Different Sort of Ordeal

    Galena under sail

    The relevant thread at Cruisers Forum is titled Abandoned Westsail 32 Free For Taking, and it’s not just a salvage hyperbole. The gent who abandoned the boat, Galena (seen above), less than 200 miles northwest of Fiji, has declared he will make no claim on it if it is recovered. He just wants someone to get it. Which shouldn’t be too hard, as its position when abandoned is known, wasn't too far from shore, and its AIS transceiver, as of three days ago, was still transmitting.

  • THE PERFECT DINGHY: Does It Exist?

    OCT in action

    I’ve been studying the specs on this new Offshore Cruising Tender (see image above), which was developed by Russell and Karin Carlyon, a Kiwi cruising couple who evidently often found themselves pining for a better dinghy during their 7-year circumnavigation. We can only presume this represents their idea of “the perfect dinghy,” which is, of course, a highly subjective concept. After studying their website I’d guess their goal here was to create a dink with most of the attributes of an RIB tender, only more rugged and durable.

    It certainly has a distinctive look, and for a hard tender it is remarkably light, just 92 pounds. Construction is relatively exotic--carbon-reinforced glass with Kevlar abrasion pads over a 10mm PVC foam core--yet the Carlyons claim the boat is easily repaired. There’s also a big closed-cell foam bumper encased in Sunbrella running all the way around the hull. Their most remarkable claim is that the boat will plane when powered by a 3hp outboard.

  • VARIOUS MISHAPS: Two Abandonments and Two Boats Sunk at Harbor Entrances

    Walkabout in distress

    It's been a busy fortnight in the realm of sailing mishaps. Number one involves the abandoning of a 42-foot sailing vessel Walkabout (see photo up top), whose crew of three were caught in Hurricane Julio and issued a distress call Sunday about 400 miles northeast of Oahu. They reported their liferaft had been stripped off the boat, a hatch cover had been ripped off the deck, and they were taking on water faster than they could pump. Not at all a sanguine situation.

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