View Full Version : This is Really Sad

John R Smith
10-21-2002, 07:58 AM
Yesterday was wild in Cornwall, with force 8 to 9 south-easterly winds. From our local BBC News -

"A yachtsman in his 80s has been killed while sailing in gale-force winds off the coast of Cornwall. The yachtsman fell from the yacht Petite Manuelle about a mile from Falmouth on Sunday.

His body was found in the water after a search by the Falmouth lifeboat and a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose. It is thought the man had been struck over the head by the boom.

The yacht's skipper is back on shore and has been treated by paramedics. The vessel was sailing the 18 miles between Fowey and Falmouth when it was hit by the storm."

The yacht was based at Falmouth, and the two yachtsmen involved live at Flushing, just across the Penryn River.

Be careful out there, folks.


Scott Rosen
10-21-2002, 08:14 AM
It is sad. But if I'm lucky enough to be living into my eighties, that's the way I want to go. Sailing in gale. A quick and merciful knock on the head with the boom. And then a burial at sea.

10-22-2002, 04:03 AM
An old wartime friend of my mothers died on his yacht at 89 off Greenland in a gale. He'd owned a boat since 1934, and sailed almost every season till the end. Not a bad way to go. He was ex RN and got a burial off Portsmouth.

martin schulz
10-22-2002, 05:05 AM
...went through the "Nord-Ostsee Kanal" the channel connecting the Baltic with the Elbe/Northsea on Sunday with freezing cold weather but clear sky. Then Monday morning it was unnervingly warm and raining when we went out on the Elbe. Once out of the NOK channel the Rain and Wind hit us directly from SE building up quite a sea against the current. Passing some big Container-ships being in the roads, we thought that when even those ships rather stay in the Elbe instead of going out - what is happening out there in the Northsea and the english-channel?

After some unpleasant hours we finally arrived in Hamburg Museumharbour.

10-22-2002, 06:22 AM
Rather you than me, Martin! The Scharhorn is just where I would NOT like to be, in such conditions!

John, I do feel sad when anyone is killed, sailing. But I fancy there are degrees of horror. What I would really hate would be to fall overboard when singlehanded and not get back aboard. It seems that almost every year someone does this in our river - often with the boat on her mooring. Stepping between dinghy and yacht, relieving oneself over the side, tripping over a rope on deck....

To drown after being knocked unconscious by the boom somehow seems less terrible.

I hope that I shall enjoy another 30 years of sailing and be sailing in my 80's!

John R Smith
10-22-2002, 06:31 AM
Yes, I am sure you are all right. Not such a bad way to go, perhaps.

I was thinking more of those left behind, like the poor skipper. He was unable to turn the boat around, into the gale, to attempt a rescue. All he could do was throw a lifering and call on the radio for help as he was blown away from the man overboard. And they were only a half mile from the shelter of the Roads.


10-22-2002, 11:43 AM
Here's a grim one.

I read about a couple in the Pacific somewhere. The husband goes up the mast in the bosun's chair, gets himself secured at the top and has a heart attack. The wife had no way to get him down by herself so she had to sail to the nearest island with him still there. Now that's rough.

Wild Wassa
10-22-2002, 02:05 PM
Really sad? or really stupid?

One thing that is 'really' evident from looking at the photographs posted on WBF, are the lack of PFDs. It's not that you can't swim, it's just that when there is more than one to rescue, everyone's prospects are reduced.

Have a look at the CG reports on avoidable drownings. Most sailors crap them selves when they go over.

How many of you guys actually know recovery proceedures?

A sailor was washed off the deck in the Sydney to Hobart, no PFD and unteathered. The Skipper jumped in, kept the sailor afloat, until the boat was turned around. It was too late, it took too long to recover both of them. The Skipper survived. I hope he was charged with manslauter.

Also if you are overweight or getting-on, can you haul yourself back into the boat?


[ 10-22-2002, 03:35 PM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]

10-22-2002, 03:23 PM
Here's what I do.

Rule 1 - the dinghy and the launch have enough bouyancy to remain afloat at all times. The launch has oars and sails and a compass and torch, the dinghy and the launch both have anchors. Not more than 2 adults and 2 children in the dinghy, not more than 4 of each in the launch.

Rule 2 - PFDs (and warm clothing, except in high summer) are always worn in the dinghy.

Rule 3 - If singlehanded on board, wear a PFD and harness and clip on.

Rule 4 - If not singlehanded - everyone wears a PFD and harness and clips on when outside the river.

Rule 5 - Children on deck wear a PFD and harness, and clip on, at ALL times.

Rule 6 "Clip on" means "clip on before leaving the hatch".

Recovery procedures - yes, practised regularly. Crash stop, gybe, reach and back, turning under power. Staysail halyards reach to below the waterline (4:1 purchase). Note extreme danger of recovering a chilled casualty in the vertical position - a heart attack is highly likely.

Danger is most present when you do not expect it -probably more people drown through falling overboard at anchor than at sea. But because the emergency services are not called out these incidents are seldom reported.

The other danger which people do not think enough about is fire.....

[ 10-22-2002, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: ACB ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-22-2002, 03:28 PM
What ACB says is especially valuable to children who grow up with it.

Later on, their safe habits may well save them.

Just as the opposite might imperil them.


Joe (SoCal)
10-22-2002, 04:48 PM
Lucky says: "Be Lucky and allways wear your PFD"
http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0OwB0cGwT2BfdWXYyvfBeyuI6uF6mo13yLo4iJ7lskDvt1!ag0 aLgQ4v7wZdKsMjEiGdzyGzUiA1f4A5Hbnz*XW4enpUqpKvS/L1000608.JPG

[ 10-22-2002, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Dave Hadfield
10-23-2002, 02:29 PM
My neighbour worked for a while on the Police boat in these waters (Georgian Bay -- Lake Huron). He said a large proportion of the male bodies recovered had their "flies" open.

Now THAT is a much worse way to go....

10-23-2002, 02:56 PM
Yes, I have heard that the USCG call this "OFS" (open fly syndrome)!

I do believe that if one's last minutes are occupied with the thought "How COULD I have been so STUPID" this makes dying somehow worse.

I am sure it is horribly common.

Joe (SoCal)
10-23-2002, 03:10 PM
From the Dawin Awards site http://www.darwinawards.com/ But more related to boating
2002 Darwin Awards
Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.
I Can't Swim!
2002 Darwin Award Nominee
Unconfirmed by Darwin
This cautionary tale was written by a Slush Pile moderator!

(1 July 2002, Canada) The population of Thunder Bay, a beautiful city located on the shores of Lake Superior, was decreased by one Darwin Award candidate over the long Canada Day weekend. The story takes place on Obonga Lake, 100 miles north of Thunder Bay.

The holiday weekend was a scorcher, with temperatures in the high 90's. Our candidate went for a cooling boat ride with his wife and children, but the cool breeze did not suffice, so he turned off the motor and dove into the lake.

Canada's northern lakes warm on the surface, but usually only in a thin layer lying over the colder depths of water. Diving into one of these thermoclines can result in paralysis when you hit the cold water a few feet below the surface. But that's not what happened to our diver.

His first error was more basic: He was unable to swim, and wasn’t wearing a life jacket, the logical attire of a boating non-swimmer.

His second error was neglecting to consider the effects of the wind, which was not only pushing the boat away from him, but also foiling efforts to throw him a life preserver.

And his third error was in not teaching his wife to drive the boat, so she was unable to start the engine, drive over, and rescue him.

The people in the boat waved their arms towards shore in a vain bid for help – and that's where the Darwin candidate's fourth and final error became significant. He had neglected to provide his boat with the required boating safety kit, containing a 15 meter buoyant line, an approved Personal Flotation Device for each person on board, and a loud signaling device such as a pea-less whistle.

While my heart goes out to his wife and children, the rest of us would have seen it coming when he dove in. Although he already had several children, he certainly won't be adding any more tadpoles to the gene pool.

Sidebar: Since life preservers are buoyant in water, they are lightweight and don't throw well into the wind

DarwinAwards.com © 1994-2002

Dave Hadfield
10-24-2002, 09:52 AM
JohnR, sorry if my post might've seemed to trivialize the loss of the gentleman you referred us to.

A sad thing, for sure.

Mind you, maybe he'd have got a chuckle out of my post!

Lowell Bernhardt
10-24-2002, 05:07 PM
I must say that this post has really made me think about some thing s that I take for granted while on the water.

I'm sure that I'm the only one that ever thinks, "that wont happen to me I'll be careful".

Well, I suppose that the one time that I'm just not careful enough will be just that, the one time I'm not quite careful enough.

Thank you,
Lowell tongue.gif