Seaside Rescue - poor seamanship or otherwise?

armchairsailor

Active member
Joined
17 Sep 2009
Messages
1,144
Location
back aground in Blighty
Visit site
I was watching a rerun of Seaside Rescue last night - the one where a student racing a (Sunsail?) Sun Odyssey 37 got crowned by the boom and ended up with a plate in his forehead, and was horrified by another story, which I haven't been able to get my head completely around - consequently I was wondering if others with more experience than me could give me a few clues as to how these guys got into the pickle that they were in.

The lifeboat was called to a boat that had set off a maroon in Portland Race. The VHF didn't work and the genny was loose and flogging, with the sheet wrapped around the forestay. Wind looked about a F4 and they had full main up. The weather looked benign (they were wearing T shirts), although they were clearly caught in the Race at the wrong time. There were just 2 guys aboard what looked to me like a Sadler 32 or similar and they didn't seem to have a bloody clue. Certainly the lifeboat cox wasnt' impressed - he muttered: "The Coastguard will want a word with them..." I think the yacht was called P******, and had a sky blue hull.

They didn't seem capable of getting the genny rolled up or dropped (the lifeboatmen had to find the right halyard for them in then end), they didn't appear to have a backup plan for getting out of the race and they seemed to steer towards trouble with each new shot. How the genny had come free in the first place was beyond me too - had they forgotten to tie a figure 8 knot in the end of the sheet? Was this simple move the one thing that ended up with the lifeboat being called?

OK, if your radio doesn't work that's unfortunate, but the way it came across was that these guys were displaying some dreadful seamanship, and didn't have the first clue about the systems on their not insubstantial yacht. Given that it was a big, seaworthy thing, it appeared to me not to be the standard choice of a duffer, I am wondering whether a) the TV was putting a spin on the situation (although I can't think how that could be the case) or b) they really were as hopeless as they appeared to be. Or possibly c) they were just having a bad day?

I'm not wanting to have a go at them per se - people in glass houses and all that - but I just don't understand how they could possibly have got to that stage without making some really fundamental mistakes.
 

Talulah

Well-known member
Joined
27 Feb 2004
Messages
5,803
Location
West London/Gosport
Visit site
I'm not wanting to have a go at them per se - people in glass houses and all that - but I just don't understand how they could possibly have got to that stage without making some really fundamental mistakes.

It was their first season on the boat.
It looked to me like the person in the cockpit was suffering from sea-sickness and was not going to move.
I often come across people that once the boat starts to heal will not leave the cockpit to go up on deck or down below. Hence it was all down to the other guy. Looked like they hadn't considered lowering the sail. It wasn't clear if the furling line had broken or come adrift.
 

prv

Well-known member
Joined
29 Nov 2009
Messages
37,363
Location
Southampton
Visit site
I think I saw that one years ago. Can't really remember the details but I do remember thinking much the same as you are.

Some people are just muppets.

Pete
 

Searush

New member
Joined
14 Oct 2006
Messages
26,779
Location
- up to my neck in it.
back2bikes.org.uk
I watched that too, quite entertaining. They clearly didn't know the boat well. I think it is important to remember what it is like if you get caught in overfalls. Your ability to think & act is severely curtailed, just holding on becomes a struggle. You may not have been in a similar position, but it is a mistake one tries not to repeat!:D

It looked to me as tho one of the sheets might have got tangled in or around the furling drum. It hadn't occurred to them to drop the genny & even when the lifeboatman suggested it, they were not able to respond to the instruction. Even in calmer water, they didn't know how to get the sail down & when asked "Is this the jib halliard?" The answer was "Dunno, never use either of those two."

I'm not surprised the owner wanted his face blurring out. Perhaps they now understand the concept of "Learning the ropes" before setting out! I suppose it all looks so simple on a nice sunny day if you don't understand the risks.
 

elton

Well-known member
Joined
19 Oct 2005
Messages
17,482
Location
Durham, England
www.boatit.co.uk
One of the contributing factors to the loss of my boat was failure of the furling drum. You never get the full picture on these programmes so it's pointless to speculate.
 

armchairsailor

Active member
Joined
17 Sep 2009
Messages
1,144
Location
back aground in Blighty
Visit site
I think it is important to remember what it is like if you get caught in overfalls. Your ability to think & act is severely curtailed, just holding on becomes a struggle.

It looked to me as tho one of the sheets might have got tangled in or around the furling drum.

Agreed - I wouldn't like to be in overfalls either, and I can completely understnad if they were suffering seasickness etc. Getting on to the foreeck would have been nigh on impossible in that, I'm sure.

Yes, it looked like the sheet had tangled the sail up, but how would that happen? Not tying a knot in the end?
 

Searush

New member
Joined
14 Oct 2006
Messages
26,779
Location
- up to my neck in it.
back2bikes.org.uk
(snip) You never get the full picture on these programmes so it's pointless to speculate.

Sorry, but that is quite untrue. It is clearly NOT pointless to speculate.

FYI; The whole point of speculation is to illustrate the simple scenarios that could unfold for any of us. Such speculation helps us to learn from the misfortunes of others & allows us to improve our own experience & skill.

Now, I assume you know it all, so don't need to speculate, fine by me, but don't try telling me not to discuss issues that may save me or someone else losing their boat. I find such speculation by myself & others extremely useful in sharing & developing knowledge.

Please feel free to put me on ignore, or put your fingers in your ears, but I do not intend to shut up & stop trying to understand the things than could go wrong so that I have strategies to deal with them if they do.

If you really want to help, you could share your experiences & lessons learnt or point to a thread where you have already done that. Cheeers, Steve K
 

snowleopard

Active member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
33,652
Location
Oxford
Visit site
These programs always try to turn a bit of a problem into a life and death drama to make the heroes look better so best to take the scale of the problem with a pinch of salt. That said, there are plenty of sailors around who can get themselves into that sort of pickle.
 

elton

Well-known member
Joined
19 Oct 2005
Messages
17,482
Location
Durham, England
www.boatit.co.uk
Sorry, but that is quite untrue. It is clearly NOT pointless to speculate.

How can your speculation be anything other than wild guessing if you don't know all the facts? You could create a ficticious scenario for the puposes of training, and speculate on that 'til your heart's content. Television is like looking through a pinhole, and you only see what the producers want you to see. If you lost your boat, or came close to losing it, how would you like to read an uninformed post mortem by a faceless bunch of web surfers, based upon a television entertainment programme?
 

Searush

New member
Joined
14 Oct 2006
Messages
26,779
Location
- up to my neck in it.
back2bikes.org.uk
(snip)
Yes, it looked like the sheet had tangled the sail up, but how would that happen? Not tying a knot in the end?

As Elton rightly points out, it is impossible to be sure, but initially both sheets were on the genny - they were almost certainly released later to take the pressure off everything so the sail could be taken down. One of the sheets (looked like the port one) seemed to be held near the drum, you could see it quite clearly leading forward when it should have been free. I wondered if it had got pulled into the drum by the furling line as the sail unfurled. All it needs is a bit of a pull on the sheet with a riding turn & then you are bollixed.

Say it happened on Starboard tack & wasn't noticed, you are sailing like a good'un as you head into the race & then realise this isn't a good place to be & tack to get out of it & all hell breaks loose. You lose way, the headsail is thrashing like mad & no-one wants to crawl forward to find out why. You try furling the sail from the cockpit but the line is jammed. You are being thrown all over the place & are now pretty well out of options. A Mayday & flare to get assistance seem (and are) sensible options.

Of course, it's all speculation & it may well not be true, but it's a scenario I could easily see happening. I hope I would have the sense to put a harness on & crawl forward to release the genny or get it down -especially as I have now "experienced" the scenario in my imagination. Seems a useful exercise to me.
 

armchairsailor

Active member
Joined
17 Sep 2009
Messages
1,144
Location
back aground in Blighty
Visit site
Yes, you're right - that's both the beauty and the danger of faceless internet forums and their forumites, however there is a great deal of experience on this particualr one (forum that is), and that's hopefully what would be accessed by this discusssion.
 

Searush

New member
Joined
14 Oct 2006
Messages
26,779
Location
- up to my neck in it.
back2bikes.org.uk
How can your speculation be anything other than wild guessing if you don't know all the facts? You could create a ficticious scenario for the puposes of training, and speculate on that 'til your heart's content. Television is like looking through a pinhole, and you only see what the producers want you to see. If you lost your boat, or came close to losing it, how would you like to read an uninformed post mortem by a faceless bunch of web surfers, based upon a television entertainment programme?

You may be faceless, but I am not shy about my identity. That is my face in the avatar. :D I often use my real name & my e-mail is visible on my profile. T'interweb isn't quite as scary as we are sometimes lead to believe.

A postmortem on a problem of mine? I would join in to eliminate any inaccuracies. Were you the owner of P*l*m*n*, featured on the programme? We have had posts from people involved in incidents being discussed on here & they have provided extremely useful information.

Stuff happens all the time, I have posted a number of incidents (and consequent lessons learnt) on here over the years, comments are generally helpful & usefull.
 

savageseadog

Well-known member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
23,300
Visit site
People go to sea, things happen, that sums it up for me.
It doesn't really do to pontificate on the misfortune of others especially if the facts aren't fully known. Sea sickness at its worst is a disabler and many leisure boat call outs are probably caused by it.
 

Searush

New member
Joined
14 Oct 2006
Messages
26,779
Location
- up to my neck in it.
back2bikes.org.uk
People go to sea, things happen, that sums it up for me.
It doesn't really do to pontificate on the misfortune of others especially if the facts aren't fully known. Sea sickness at its worst is a disabler and many leisure boat call outs are probably caused by it.

Causes of seasickness;

rough seas (ha ha)
anxiety/ fear
hunger
cold
tiredness

Funny how one of the above will lead on to the others isn't it? Rough water makes it hard to eat & drink (even just moving around gets hard) you start to get hungry & tired, the anxiety of the conditions is greatly exacerbated when something goes wrong - you are then unable to deal with something that would simply be annoying in harbour & anxiety turns to fear.

This ain't speculation, we've all been there & had to learn to deal with it haven't we?
 

Sailfree

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jan 2003
Messages
21,473
Location
Nazare Portugal
Visit site
People go to sea, things happen, that sums it up for me.
It doesn't really do to pontificate on the misfortune of others especially if the facts aren't fully known. Sea sickness at its worst is a disabler and many leisure boat call outs are probably caused by it.

Sorry I'm with Searush on this. By speculating some may cover possibilities that have no relevance to an actual incident but if it makes us all consider the possibilities and the possible solutions to a posed problem then its good.

You use the word pontificate that suggests to me an amount of implied arrogance. I don't think thats often the case but I agree its speculation with often limited actual knowledge of the precise incident.

What is deplorable is when some try to attribute blame without all the facts and an insensitivity to the relatives of possibly injured or dead people.
 

Seajet

...
Joined
23 Sep 2010
Messages
29,177
Location
West Sussex / Hants
Visit site
Lessons of History

It doesn't really do to pontificate on the misfortune of others

I really have to disagree; we should not name names, but we can all learn from experiences.

The UK services and some airlines, along with other professional outfits, run a reporting system whereby people can mention problems they've been through ( equipment or personal failings, whatever ) so that others don't fall into the same trap.

Why else would we train Test pilots and Master Mariners, if we're not all supposed to set off like Noah or the Wright Brothers ?

I get the idea from a little time on this forum that SeaRush has plenty of experience and deserves a listen.

When I recently related a mistake I made a while ago ( setting off with a faulty steering compass, long story and no big drama but a lesson ) I was rounded on by the odd forumite, fair enough; but if relaying that story helps just one reader avoid the same mistake, Darwin lives to fight another day.
 
Last edited:

jamesjermain

Active member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
2,723
Location
Cargreen, Cornwall
Visit site
It doesn't really do to pontificate on the misfortune of others

I really have to disagree; we should not name names, but we can all learn from experiences.

The UK services and some airlines, along with other professional outfits, run a reporting system whereby people can mention problems they've been through ( equipment or personal failings, whatever ) so that others don't fall into the same trap.

Why else would we train Test pilots and Master Mariners, if we're not all supposed to set off like Noah or the Wright Brothers ?

I get the idea from a little time on this forum that SeaRush has plenty of experience and deserves a listen.

When I recently related a mistake I made a while ago ( setting off with a faulty steering compass, long story and no big drama but a lesson ) I was rounded on by the odd forumite, fair enough; but if relaying that story helps just one reader avoid the same mistake, Darwin lives to fight another day.

Speculation is fine as long as the parameters are made clear. Casting blame or belittling people without the full set of facts is tabloid journalism:eek:
 
Top