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Old 13 October 2008, 16:26   #61
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Well told brucehawsker - not an easy post to make. That sounds like the day I always worry that I'll have, and I've been close! Your conclusions are bang on. Food for thought....
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Old 13 October 2008, 17:55   #62
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I guess.........................


...................... helms.

I think that should possibly be a stern lesson to the bigger boat skipper too if you were travelling in company-If you're travelling in company you don't bugger off and leave them when they drop back-specially when you don't hear from them.
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Old 13 October 2008, 18:15   #63
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You have to be totally self sufficient in any serious sea - and that means studying the chart carefully before leaving - relying on anyone else is not enough
A handheld backup radio is ESSENTIAL, not an expensive luxury
Food must be accessible
If electronics fail, even if you have done the trip before, the coastline at 4.30pm on a darkening October afternoon seems unbelievably hostile and alien
We learned loads, and gained a huge respect for the boat and how well it coped.
Some points well made - I fundamentally don't trust boat electronics availability. A few ideas:
- I'd also agree a handheld VHF is essential and they really are quite cheap now.
- I also carry a handheld gps chart plotter (and spare batteries!). OK, not cheap at several hundred quid but when you need it... If I had a certain second bad weather helm on the boat then laminated charts etc would be ok but I can't helm in bad weather and navigate on paper on my own in a rib! (I am in the process of training up backup everythings in the shape of my sons but they aren't quite there yet!)
- Top-tip... We've found a small lightweight ripstop nylon drybags ideal for immediate to hand items like food bars and hats/gloves. We have a couple that clip round the seat frames or console grab bar. Don't seem to get in the way or bounce around too much.
- Second top-tip. Gingernuts. Resistant to disintegration, better than chocolate in poor weather, don't melt in hot and even have anti sea-sickness qualities. Excellent motivators
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Old 13 October 2008, 19:14   #64
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Looks like a freezer bag may have been of some use after all...........

If you don't use one for safety then at least use one to stop getting a knackered mobile phone - that way if the worse happens your phone may even work!!!

I always carry my trusty old Garmin GPS12 as well.
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Old 13 October 2008, 19:15   #65
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I think that should possibly be a stern lesson to the bigger boat skipper too if you were travelling in company-If you're travelling in company you don't bugger off and leave them when they drop back-specially when you don't hear from them.
Hear hear!!!
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Old 13 October 2008, 23:20   #66
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Interesting that in a high wind:

a) you get hoarse shouting to each other
b) using a phone inside a plastic bag degrades the sound quality simply too much to be of any use

I tried to turn the nose of the boat to land so the wind was behind our bodies to make it easier for my son to hear the phone, but then we were in danger if getting awave over the transom - not nice!

That was why we took the phone out.

"Ripstop nylon drybag" - please explain.

"Gingernuts" - brilliant wheeze.

"If you're travelling in company you don't bugger off and leave them when they drop back-specially when you don't hear from them."

This is an easy criticism. However, I was thinking what I would do if it were me with two 4.8 metre ribs which I was supposed to be looking after. If the weather became really horrid (which it was) and I lost one of them what would I do? I think the message has to be not to criticise the "nanny" boat, but to recognise that however well organised an expedition is - and it is an expedition if you go out in a small boat in rough conditions - you may through no fault of the organisers or the lead larger boat become isolated. Thus you have to plan to survive on your own. That means your own course planning, your own safety kit, your own contingency planning.

Paradoxically, it may have been even more unpleasant in a large diesel onboard Scorpion than a 6.5M Solent given the short fetch between the big waves....
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Old 13 October 2008, 23:24   #67
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Furthermore, I think it was because of my poor passage planning that we got into such rough deas. We were too far offshore going round a headland where, if I had my time again, having studied the charts and an excellent little book on the Dorset Coast, I would have been much closer inland. But when you are trying to chase a support boat who you can occasionally see in the distance, you are inevitably tempted (as we did) to "cut the corner".
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Old 14 October 2008, 03:41   #68
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Bruce, excellent notes there - bottom line is for an expedition unless you are in comms in sight and the weather was like it was you all stay together and within sight of ech other - if its an expedition the lead boat / safety boat makes the call based on the conditions and never ever puts people in danger -

Passage planning is absolutley critical however mundane it seems and my little course will heavily concentrate on simple techniques that even if the weather is horrendous where you cant take your eyes off the sea - you will still have an alternative and safe haven option...but more importantly you dont need any maps or paper!!
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Old 14 October 2008, 06:18   #69
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Another Stuffing?
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Old 14 October 2008, 06:36   #70
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As a follow on from this I think I'll move my handhled to aplace where I can always get it & also the back up GPS ( somethimes this goes inside my jacket if its really rough & if I think about it the handheld has done the same) .

One thing I have noticed in bad weather is how much the rain can stop you seeing things. Rain at 25mph , even with a 'slow' boat speed of 10mph made it impossible to see. I had to resort to the skiing goggles for me & a mate one time so we coudl just see the waves , but they are tinted so again not much use when its getting dark etc . I will be getting clear ones soon !

And can echo the not being able to hear each other over the wind noise - the radio was just useless at that point & its well buried down the console on the shearwater ! I couldn't even hear the CD !
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