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Old 06 December 2014, 06:05   #11
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Originally Posted by Pikey Dave View Post
I usually avoid the lifejacket histrionics,(I believe in personal choice) but I did think it was odd that they were bowling along at 19kn in the dark & not a LJ or harness to be seen. I'm not a WAFI so I don't know what the form is, but personally I'd have been wearing one.
The skipper at the end, was a weasel!
The form on any yacht I'm skippering is that, at night, lifejackets, harnesses and safety lanyards (with a quick-opening safety shackle and two double-action elasticated safety hooks) are mandatory on deck/in the cockpit and you MUST be clipped on at all times once you leave the sanctuary of the cabin.

Before you ascend to the cockpit from the cabin you reach up and clip on to a strongpoint adjacent to the hatchway and then, having ascended the steps from the cabin to the cockpit, you clip on to another strongpoint if you need to move further aft (i.e., to pass the helmsman a cup of something warm) before removing the first hook.

This also applies in bad weather of course and, in my experience, is standard practice for any experienced yachtsman...
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Old 07 December 2014, 19:51   #12
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It's an inevitable part of life that, when "experts" make a mistake, people secretly or openly revel in the knowledge that someone who should have known better has probably made a prat of themselves. I have empathy with the navigator for certain reasons.

The Vestas incident has raised awareness of an important issue about electronic charts that professional navigators have been trying to highlight for years. A pro navigator some time ago pointed out to me several anomalies in many electronic charts depicting some of the Caribbean Islands - in particular he indicated significant discrepancies in many reef positions. Some of these anomalies were around St Bart's where several Superyachts had frequently "come unstuck". Alarmingly he pointed out that the buoy on Proselyte Reef near St Martin changed from E Cardinal to N Cardinal as you went through the zoom levels.

Although many of these anomalies are being addressed by the electronic chart companies (e.g. A second non - existent island that was shown by Redonda has finally been removed) there is still some wildly inaccurate data still stored on many electronic charts. Redonda continues to be a worry for all Caribbean sailors. On my C Map system if I plot a rhumb line from Montserrat to Nevis on one zoom level the line runs on the west side of the rock - a second zoom level shows the line passing directly through the rock and a third zoom level shows the line passing to the east of the rock. This is not good news on a dark night where the unlit land mass is all but impossible to see. Much of this anomaly is to do with the incorrect positioning of Redonda and many participants in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race may well have seen their track pass directly through the island.

Although the Vestas grounding probably has nothing to do with positioning there is a suggestion that inadequate attention to zoom levels may have been a contributing factor to the accident. What is clear is that in the highly frequented waters of the Caribbean there are still many places inadequately charted with regard to zoom levels - in remote parts of the Indian Ocean this discrepancy is likely to be even more significant.

To conclude the reef these guys struck is about 26 miles long. If you zoom out on most electronic charts the area quickly becomes small dots and then disappears. On long ocean passages it is not easy to reconcile small zoom distances when weather routing some days ahead. In addition the yachts originally were not supposed to cross this area at all - it was designated a no go zone. At the last minute it was left open as a large depression was approaching - so it was felt the boats might need more sea room to avoid it. The new rhumb line of course lay directly over the reef which the Vestas navigator unhappily failed to spot. If you look on google earth at this reef it is visible from a huge zoom level - so laughably all the guys playing the virtual race (an active internet yacht race game like fantasy football /cricket) all managed to navigate around the reef because they could see it! How bizarre a pro navigator actually participating in the race with supposedly a pro navigation system could not!!! It shows all of us that electronic charts need real care and understanding - the data used is often incorrect (having been taken from historically incorrect charts) and the loss of detail as you zoom out is potentially a great danger if you have not reconciled where your track takes you.
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Old 07 December 2014, 20:24   #13
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Rather than 'revelling' secretly or otherwise, my first thought after incidents like this is 'there for the grace of god go I'. Even skippers have to sleep some times and I've sailed many thousands of miles where I've been obliged to put my trust in other peoples' ability to carry out my instructions diligently (including waking me immediately in certain circumstances) whilst I sleep.

I have to say however that comprehensive passage planning before departure and regular (hourly) position-fixing on paper charts whilst on passage are both absolute requirements on any vessel I skipper and a SOLAS requirement for the majority of vessels for whom ECDIS is only a secondary means to navigation. I absolutely agree that anomalies exist on many electronic charts and (particularly when the zoom function is used) which is why paper charts are required to be the primary means of navigation.

I have no idea of the circumstances leading up to this accident but I'm certainly struggling to understand how, if regular position fixing and recording on a paper chart was being undertaken (and compared with the intended passage plan) the vessel ended up where it did whilst travelling at 19 knots?

One thing's for sure though. The skipper is absolutely responsible for what happened.
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Old 08 December 2014, 07:57   #14
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Rather than 'revelling' secretly or otherwise, my first thought after incidents like this is 'there for the grace of god go I'. Even skippers have to sleep some times and I've sailed many thousands of miles where I've been obliged to put my trust in other peoples' ability to carry out my instructions diligently (including waking me immediately in certain circumstances) whilst I sleep.

I have to say however that comprehensive passage planning before departure and regular (hourly) position-fixing on paper charts whilst on passage are both absolute requirements on any vessel I skipper and a SOLAS requirement for the majority of vessels for whom ECDIS is only a secondary means to navigation. I absolutely agree that anomalies exist on many electronic charts and (particularly when the zoom function is used) which is why paper charts are required to be the primary means of navigation.
Electronic chart systems certainly have anomalies but most ( if not all) professional chart plotting packages also have an " anti grounding " alarm feature which works (when activated) Irrespective of zoom level!

I'm afraid that although I'm glad no one was injured, I have very little sympathy for them.

Simon

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Old 08 December 2014, 09:07   #15
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I'm not so sure the Vestas Wind attitude would be very philosophical should I put a windfarm transfer vessel aground at speed with their techies on it in the dark.
If one goes to sea accidents can befall you a lot more easily than they do to someone simply sat at a keyboard. Yes there is blame to apportion and the skipper's shoulders seem to be sloping somewhat in order to allow that blame to slither off and be spread around but at the end of the day as far as any skipper is concerned " the buck stops here!"
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Old 08 December 2014, 09:35   #16
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That's an interesting point - I will check my Garmin charts and zoom in/out to see what gets shown or not when plotting a route.

I do tend to look over real charts for the area I'm in as well as use the plotter, but once on the boat I've never looked at a paper chart, just the Garmin screen.
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Old 08 December 2014, 11:25   #17
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Both the dayskipper and yacht master theory nightschool classes I attended over the past five years (did day skipper twice for the fun of it) specifically mentioned things like zoom levals on GPS charts and dangers of over reliance on GPS plotters and the need to also use paper charts. In fact the message was repeated many times, the RYA teacher who taught the classes was an old boy but a master mariner and had a lot of decent stories to tell about the subject. So another good reason for doing training and never putting all your faith in modern electronic gadgets.

Just look at how many large lorries end up down one lane country lanes cos there SatNav told them to use them and then get stuck.

All these modern GPS plotters etc are an 'aid' to navigation they dont replace all the navigation.

And yes I agree in the interview he did seem to blame other people.
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Old 02 February 2015, 04:17   #18
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The journey continues

It just shows that "where there is a will - there is a way" .

Hopefully with this "can do" attitude the boat will be repaired and be able to take part in the last leg from Lisbon in the summer

Vestas Wind Italy
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Old 02 February 2015, 11:24   #19
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It just shows that "where there is a will - there is a way" .

Hopefully with this "can do" attitude the boat will be repaired and be able to take part in the last leg from Lisbon in the summer

Vestas Wind Italy
Here is a picture (of the guy in the video) with me in Cowes in the summer - "little" Tom Kiff - he is quite useful on a boat as a spare mast.

People will be surprised (not) to know that the navigator (not Tom) has stepped off the crew.
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Old 02 June 2015, 17:48   #20
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It just shows that "where there is a will - there is a way" .

Hopefully with this "can do" attitude the boat will be repaired and be able to take part in the last leg from Lisbon in the summer

Vestas Wind Italy
Well done that team

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