A non-disclosure agreement required me to remove this post. Sorry.
Your story exemplifies the difference between a delivery crew and an owner sailing the boat- I would suggest an owner would never have sailed into the night with a big kite up and I learned that from a knock down I experienced in the Gulf of Panama. Give it up and sleep.
You delivery guys are (usually) young, high spirited, amped, uninsured, and psyched. We owners are typically cautious, conservative, safe, constrained, insured. Sounds like your parents, right? Yesssss.
I would say you are closing in on an age I would respect if I were hunting for a delivery captain. I don’t need dick fucks who want to challenge my ($29,995) light #1 any more.
You have the experience with which to make your comment, and I agree. However, we aren’t a delivery crew and the owner is aboard. We are the full-time, permanent crew and the owner delights in having the spinnaker up.
Simply put, and as I mentioned, the skipper made a call and it was wrong. It happens. We were lucky.
Tony, am happy that you and the Georgia crew all ended up ok. And I included will learn from your mishap. Safety always first. Keep to the basics even on a yacht that feels as safe as houses out there.
Things ALWAYS happens when you least expect it.
I concur. Regardless of being delivery or permanent crew, the fact is that other than racing with a professional crew, I do not see a need to press a boat, and certainly not beyond the capabilities of the crew. True, the reacher would have been the safe bet as it would not overly alter the vessel’s performance and could be released from the flybridge, thereby reducing risks. A crewman could have been standing by on the sheet / winch, prepared for such an event, and the ‘safety’ knot is supposed to be a slip knot with a wrap, again, for quick release. The comfort of a big yacht should only enhance the awareness of the risks involved considering the loads. Stay Lucky, Stay Safe.
Great experience. I bet you have a “new rule”?
I have seen 70 knots in squalls in the south pacific, with a 180 degree wind shift (westerly in the trades). The radar was the greatest tool at night for keeping a watch out for them and they could be avoided with a small change in course early on (20 nm, say).
Valuing our sleep aboard, we almost always reefed down one extra to allow the single watch to handle the odd mid night “event”. On a 51 footer, we still averaged 200 nm/day, so I don’t think this slowed us down much at all whilst it did give peace of mind and a greater margin of safety/caution/preparation.
Love the blog!
Tony, GREAT blog.
Keep it coming.
Since my gulf stream encounter with a 180d wind shift at 50knts at 0200, I have mandated harnesses at sunset. You get used to them quickly. (Especially the very nice spinlocks.)
While you never can be prepared for everything this is the one thing that keeps you ON the boat.
Keep up the good work Tony.
Love this blog!
Great cautionary tale. Often the size of a boat creates a sense of invulnerability to those aboard. Your story shows the bigger the boat the bigger the potential for problems. I hope everyone gets the idea that kites at night are a bad idea. Knots in sheets are even worse. And there is no excuse for not securing loose gear. I hope all crews review protocol regarding harnesses and personal transponders with strobe lights before their next passage.
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