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Old 23 October 2009, 13:05   #21
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Section 1.5.2 - "no moon"
Thanks - I missed that. Though it should have been mentioned and, of course, it was.
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Old 24 October 2009, 08:39   #22
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Don't 'drink and drive' is fine as far as it goes, but the direct cause of the accident, it seems to me, was the fact of navigating in the dark, at speed, without actually being able to see. That's simply dumb regardless of intoxication level.
All valid points. The deck light would have effectively blinded the coxswain. He relied heavily on the GPS as his sole navigation, and opened up the throttle when he thought he was clear of the harbour. Tragic.

Wonder if the relatives of the deceased ever took a private prosecution against the coxswain for manslaughter?
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Old 24 October 2009, 10:52   #23
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All valid points. The deck light would have effectively blinded the coxswain. He relied heavily on the GPS as his sole navigation, and opened up the throttle when he thought he was clear of the harbour. Tragic.

Wonder if the relatives of the deceased ever took a private prosecution against the coxswain for manslaughter?
I wonder if he even used the GPS, except perhaps to get an approximate heading. They didn't go out the same way as they came in so weren't following the GPS track from their earlier arrival. I'm guessing it was more a case of "let's head in this general direction", which is not good at speed, in darkness.

What is the #1 lesson to be learned from this? Is it "Don't drink and drive" or "Always have a passage plan" or (borrowing from road driving) "Always be able to stop in the distance ahead that you can see to be clear".

I know what my answer is.
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Old 24 October 2009, 13:37   #24
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I can’t help thinking that this tragic accident may well have happened even if they had not been drinking. At the time of the accident light drizzle had been reported. I can imagine trying to see through the screen with the deck light on, it was probably like trying to drive a car in the rain, with no windscreen wipers and the interior light on, nigh on impossible.

I agree with observer’s analysis, but would like to add that it would be dangerous for any of us to think we could not get into a similar situation because we don’t drink and drive.

The trouble is, as soon as drink is involved you can here the cry’s “are well, there we have it, that’s what caused it” when the reality is humans have the capacity to compete for the Darwin Awards http://www.darwinawards.com/ irrespective of whether drunk or sober.

Although I will concede, that setting off three times over the drink driving limit was unlikely to reduce their chances of having an accident.
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Old 24 October 2009, 18:40   #25
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I canít help thinking that this tragic accident may well have happened even if they had not been drinking. At the time of the accident light drizzle had been reported. I can imagine trying to see through the screen with the deck light on, it was probably like trying to drive a car in the rain, with no windscreen wipers and the interior light on, nigh on impossible.............
Not sure that I agree. These guys were experienced, had done the courses, were well equipped. I bet if you'd asked them the morning of the day before how they would have left a harbour in the conditions described, they'd have said all the right things. They'd have made sure the plotter was working, sorted out an initial course (it only needed to be rough), turned out all the deck lights and waited for their night vision to improve, made sure they were all safely seated, set lookouts and most important of all, gone slowly until they were sure they were well clear of any hazards. Their training would have told them that conditions were poor and the trip potentially hazardous and I'm sure they'd have gone more slowly until well into the Sound of Mull.

Alcohol erodes even strong inhibitions and sense of responsibility quickly. They just didn't think. But they would have done, I'm sure, without the booze.
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Old 24 October 2009, 19:11   #26
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I canít help thinking that this tragic accident may well have happened even if they had not been drinking. At the time of the accident light drizzle had been reported. I can imagine trying to see through the screen with the deck light on, it was probably like trying to drive a car in the rain, with no windscreen wipers and the interior light on, nigh on impossible.

I agree with observerís analysis, but would like to add that it would be dangerous for any of us to think we could not get into a similar situation because we donít drink and drive.

The trouble is, as soon as drink is involved you can here the cryís ďare well, there we have it, thatís what caused itĒ when the reality is humans have the capacity to compete for the Darwin Awards http://www.darwinawards.com/ irrespective of whether drunk or sober.

Bollocks.
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Old 24 October 2009, 20:53   #27
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We have carried out some fairly long and remote night passages with no moon. In fact only two weeks ago we ran from Oban to Lochaline at night to get over early morning and meet a dive boat to go diving. The waters are pretty easy to navigate in daylight but can be a bit tricky at night.
You can't see anything much and have to rely on electronic aids to a very large degree. In this part of the world there is little light from habitation or even nav lights to work out where you are. On a calm night without using electronic aids I am afraid it is all too easy to do something like this incident. Without a moon or when overcast it gets very dark up here...........
There was a similiar one a few years ago at Tarbert in much the same circumstances, alcohol, dark night and excessive speed when the exact position was not known and/or being monitored.
Unfortunately it has happened before and will probably happen again and all we can do is be prepared for the conditions to try and make sure it doesn't happen again soon.
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Old 24 October 2009, 22:01   #28
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Courses don't make people have common sense...
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Old 25 October 2009, 04:15   #29
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Getting some training is a good indicator of having a bit of common sense though
True, but it wont prevent a 'mad moment'. A drunk car driver has passed a driving test.

I don't mind a pint, but operating a boat when hammered is utter madness.
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Old 25 October 2009, 06:03   #30
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Bollocks.
I’m not sure were interested in what’s keeping your ears apart.
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