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Posts Tagged ‘crash’

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NYYC Round The Island

The Donald Trumpification of America has seen the value of the truth drop faster than the price of oil over the past few years, but Petey Crawford is holding the line against tale-tellers in our sport.  He takes on Gary Jobson for his misremembering issues surrounding the crash earlier this summer between the 12 metre Courageous and a J/88 and C&C 30 in Newport.  Above is a screenshot of some video; if you have crash vids from this incident, please let Petey know.)

I just found a copy of the latest Sailing World laying around the yacht club, and after reading a column, I’ve never been so certain about the need to write a rebuttal like this one. On multiple occasions in the past, one particular person has been involved in situations that have made me strongly consider writing a story.  I’ve often started writing, only to sit back, reassess, take the higher ground, and let it pass. However, after reading what I read this morning, no amount of reconsideration will keep me from posting this. The time has come for this guy to hang up his Sebago Dock-siders.

I have bitten my tongue for several months about this incident, but I’ve also watched this guy line his pockets with exorbitant production fees while making terrible videos under the guise of “promoting the sport of sailing” (in one instance, something in the ballpark of 50 grand for a lame movie no one saw about a regional three-day event). He’s also been known to demand contract stipulation from events he’s “covering” that restricts organizers from promoting other media content about the event. How does this help the sport of sailing? Simply put, it doesn’t. It only helps him. Otherwise why limit the amount of content available to help promote a class, the event, the sponsors and sailing in general?  I’m all ears…

Don’t even get me started at how bad this person is at commentary – an absolutely imperative job if we’re going to get a wider audience for this sport. Reading from a prepared script, he performs marginally, but when asked to fill dead air he is downright awful. He may have been really good at this when it was relevant to his knowledge base – 30 years ago, calling races where 40 dudes smuggle plums while sitting on a rail.  But his recent Olympic commentary was an outright embarrassment; never mind the five days where they couldn’t even figure out how to patch in any of his audio feed at all to the North American feed. When he finally did get it going, we all realized it was better with dead air.

But I digress from the matter at hand, which is, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Gary Jobson. The article in reference is the latest Jobson Report about the “NYYC Round The Island Race,” in which poor Gary and his team on the 12M Courageous ended the day on the bricks. The article immediately started with an incessant amount of whining, which was enough to make me wish I hadn’t started reading.   Hey – it could be worse: Gary could be reading it aloud, in which case I definitely would have given up before I got to the meat. You see, I wanted to know what he was going to write about the end of the race, his version of the last moments before the Courageous took a nasty bite out of the rocks along the shore of Fort Adams. Surely such a famous, well-respected, world class sailor, television commentator and author would give a proper accounting of what took place that fateful day. Well, so much for that!

The article for the most part, although boring and whiney, gave a fairly accurate description of the race conditions and how all the entire fleet ended up trying to finish at the same time. And then, the story turns into a stroll through fantasyland and launches Jobo’s arrogance and delusion into full effect.  I’ve broken it down to address his imagination-filled description (and no, quoting an article to beat on it is not copyright infringement –ed):

He starts out with some lecturing: “It is important to note that the fundamental purpose of The Racing Rules of Sailing is to prevent boats from having collisions. To force a collision to prove a point is bad practice and downright irresponsible. In the interest of safety and good seamanship, common sense must prevail.”

Then Gary starts storytelling: As we neared a known cluster of submerged rocks just off Fort Adams’ western shoreline, we tried to find an avenue to jibe back toward the finish line, which was only a few hundred yards away. But before we could we hit bottom, and the boat came to a near stop. The jolt shocked the crew.”

This is where the delusion really kicks in: “Next a group of 30 footers flying asymmetric spinnakers and sailing a higher course started yelling for us to get out of their way. Our response was to call for water, under RRS 19. Their response was to ignore our repeated request for room to avoid an obstruction. The foul language and actions of one hyper-aggressive sailor on the leeward boat were awful…Simultaneously, a 28-foot boat ahead of us gybed onto port. This boat had a draft of about 6.5 feet. The turned hard to port in an attempt to pass our bow, and unfortunately ran into our spinnaker. Our boat stopped, and then the leeward boat rammed us from the side, their mast piercing our mainsail. As if this were not enough, our need for water was proven correct: We went aground again…So here we are, a two time America’s Cup Defender, Courageous, sitting hard aground with our bow against the rocks onshore, with a 28 foot boat ensnared in our spinnaker and another boats mast sticking through our mainsail. The crew of the 28-footer was as shocked as we were and never said a word. The crew of the leeward boat continued yelling until we finally pushed off.

First of all, if you want to listen to the full story from my mouth, go to the 1:17:50 mark to hear it as I told Clean and Blazer during the SA Podcast here.  For those of you still reading, I apologize for making you read Gary’s fun little story, but it was so outrageously bad and out of touch with anything resembling reality that I had reality that I had to put it in perspective.  Now, let’s look at what really happened:

1) To force a collision to prove a point is bad practice and downright irresponsible. In the interest of safety and good seamanship, common sense must prevail.

We never forced a collision, Courageous slammed into the side of our boat then immediately T boned the J-88. Both collisions could and should have been avoided if “common sense” prevailed.

2) But before we could we hit bottom, and the boat came to a near stop. The jolt shocked the crew.” “Next a group of 30 footers flying asymmetric spinnakers and sailing a higher course started yelling for us to get out of their way.”

Reading this, one would assume that Courageous was  “near stopped”. We all know that these old dinosaurs don’t exactly accelerate at neck snapping speeds. So what is it …are you stopped or not? One might assume that the wild pack of 30 footers came racing in from behind with their newfangled asymmetrical spinnakers and started yelling at the poor Courageous who was on the rocks.  But what Gary fails to mention here is that all the boats in Gary’s crosshairs were WELL ahead of Courageous at this time. And we (Extreme 2) were calling for water from the boats outside of us before Courageous busted in and tried to thread the needle between our pack of small, shallow-draft boats and the rocks. Again, shouldn’t common sense prevail? Practice what you preach here, Jobo. You never ever should have put that boat in that position. That’s all on you, Chachi.

3) Their response was to ignore our repeated request for room to avoid an obstruction. The foul language and actions of one hyperagressive sailor on the leeward boat were awful. Simultaneously, a 28-foot boat ahead of us gybed onto port. This boat had a draft of about 6.5 feet. The turned hard to port in an attempt to pass our bow, and unfortunately ran into our spinnaker.

Here’s yet another problem.  While we were trying to avoid the rocks (still on starboard, asking for room from the pack of boats rafted up on our port side) we were already noticing that the J88 had gybed onto port to get away from the rocks themselves.  It was only then that Jobson’s Courageous came bombing in  (relatively speaking, mind you)  from clear astern under full kite, pole back, and main eased to the shrouds (Wait, weren’t they dead stopped?). Their boom smoked our skipper Dan Cheresh in the head, knocking him to the cockpit floor, and then continued to batter our boat, breaking all our main battens.  Their bow hit the J/88 in the port quarter (no, the J/88 didn’t ‘turn hard to port to attempt to pass your bow’), they gybed well before your band of merry men were even on our radar, again you approached from CLEAR ASTERN. Luckily the spoon bow of Courageous is so high it went above the hull and pushed it down.  A plumb bow or a lower one would probably have sunk the J/boat. BTW, a certain member of the Courageous afterguard was allegedly heard onshore commenting, “they were on port, so it was their fault…” So much for that whole collision avoidance thing…

4) Our boat stopped, and then the leeward boat rammed us from the side, their mast piercing our mainsail. As if this were not enough, our need for water was proven correct: We went aground again.”

We did not ram you; Dan’s head did not seek out your boom. You were not stopped; you hit us, and then almost annihilated that J-88. Then, you ended up on the bricks. This clearly states your boat was stopped, we somehow hit you from the side, and then you hit ground? Sorry Gary, this doesn’t pass the smell test.

5) “So here we are, a two time America’s Cup Defender, Courageous, sitting hard aground with our bow against the rocks onshore, with a 28 foot boat ensnared in our spinnaker and another boats mast sticking through our mainsail. The crew of the 28-footer was as shocked as we were and never said a word. The crew of the leeward boat continued yelling until we finally pushed off.”


Courageous keel shows just how hard they bricked it. Great navigating!

We were well on our way towards the finish line when Courageous ended up with the bow on the rocks. But to me, it seems a 2 time Americas Cup Defender should know better than to attempt to squeeze a 50-ton dinosaur between a bunch of little sportboats and Fort Adams.  One would also think that a professional writer and noble yachtsman/tactician would have spent at least a small fraction of the time Gary put into this Sailing World piece to RESPOND TO OUR PROTEST?  If, indeed, you were stopped and were rammed by several other reckless boats, that surely would be a winnable protest scenario, right? Oh, wait – you didn’t even show up at the protest hearing, did you?  Not even when the jury made all sorts of extra effort to make sure your team was informed about the properly filed protest.  Somehow, that didn’t stop you from having Courageous lawyers try to re-open the protest 45 days later on some ridiculous basis – thank god the NYYC’s jury is above board – they gave you a big fat denial to you as a birthday present…


So here we are; you printed and published a silly, fact-challenged, Trumpian version of a big crash to try to escape the blame and shame you are owed, and any racer will easily be able to see your version doesn’t add up.

But there’s a silver lining in it for Gary Jobson; he has proved that when he finally lets someone younger and better than you take over the microphone, he has a hell of a career ahead of him writing fiction.


Petey Out

August 30th, 2016 by admin

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tender 1

In the latest example of how not to place a photo RIB on a race course, a driver on Lake Garda carrying Italian photographer Carlo Borlenghi was nearly sliced in half by Monaco’s Prince Casiraghi at the helm of a GC32 yesterday during Foiling Week racing.  This photo thanks to Phantom Of The Oscar. UPDATE: Boot Dusseldorf has reposted the crash video.  Sit down and have a look.

Foiling event organizers, take note: We’ve now seen fairly experienced folks like Dave Reed (Sailing World wrecks the G4), Shirley Robertson (CNN Mainsail wrecks Bora’s moth), and a VOR volunteer RIB driver in Lorient (amputated by the Spindrift 2) all putting themselves in dangerous positions leading to massive damage or injuries.  Our suggestion is a new rule: All support boat drivers at ultra-high speed events MUST BE TRAINED in the specific techniques and dangers of the boats they’re covering or they cannot work the event.  If this policy is not adopted, it’ll only be so long before the first death by foils. To point out the obvious, and despite what Sailing World and Robertson may have claimed, when a boat under power is in a wreck with a sailboat, it is the motorboat’s fault.  Get educated.


July 9th, 2016 by admin

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Extreme 2 continued her dominant ways in the C&C 30 class at the NYYC Annual last week, with mast man Petey Crawford continuing his ultra-high octane videography with this highlight reel from the regatta.  What isn’t on camera was a stellar Round-The-Island Race crash when the 12M Courageous sailed headlong into the rocks at Fort Adams, but not before t-boning a J/88 and knocking Extreme 2 skipper Dan Cheresh to the dirt with its spinnaker pole.

Courageous retired from the race and didn’t even bother showing up to the protest hearing despite being notified in person (and they lost, of course) but the old boat’s tactician has now claimed it wasn’t their fault.  We’ve invited said tactician and several crew and on-shore spectators to provide their view before sharpening up the pitchforks…


June 22nd, 2016 by admin

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There were some grumblings from media pros early in 2015 when we suggested US Sailing or ISAF plan ahead and institute real drone regulations before something bad happened.  After all, it’s a big ocean out there, right?  While the government jumped in to at least start things on a path to responsibility, the various nations’ rules are a huge mess, and forward looking sporting organizations should already be acting on it.

As of a few days ago, skiing’s governing body, the FIS, has absolutely banned drones from its World Cup events, with other levels likely to follow.  If you don’t understand why, watch the incredible video above.  Then imagine you’re at the top mark at a World Championship with the same thing happening on your foredeck.

We are absolutely in favor of drones being used to help show off sailing to the world.  No technical development will have a bigger impact on the sport since Algore invented the internet.  But drones and drone operators need to be tested, proven and insured under either a credible media organization or the event itself.  Anything else is asking for an expensive, embarrassing, and potentially harmful or fatal problem.  Don’t believe us?  Watch that video again.


January 15th, 2016 by admin

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If one crash video replay is great, it’s logical that a dozen of them are spectacular.  Here’s a little montage of all the possible angles of the Artemis vs. clueless umpire boat crash in Bermuda, set, of course, to German house music.  Just because.


November 2nd, 2015 by admin

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Pat Rynne’s Waterlust videos have brought some of the most beautiful parts of our sport to the world over the past few years, and we’re lucky to call him a friend and occasional co-conspirator.  Few understand just how far Pat goes to pursue his passion, but an incident last week puts it all into perspective.  Our thoughts go out to Pat’s partner Fiona (who just underwent surgery and is in recovery) and the rest of their injured crew. You can share your support over here.

Dear friends,

Last Saturday while filming in Iceland, our amazing team of Fiona Graham, Laura Graham, Jennah Caster, Jenny Adler, Greg Owen and myself were involved in a motor vehicle accident. We were driving on a straight and paved road along the coast in the western part of the country and were hit by an extremely strong gust of wind deemed a ‘microburst.’ The force of the wind powerfully flipped our 6-person caravan off the road into a nearby marshland. We were driving slowly, at around 25mph at the time of the accident. We had been monitoring the weather throughout the morning and had not experienced winds that impaired our driving ability until this moment.

The camper did at least one full rotation and came to rest right side up off the road. The wind in this gust was blowing by my estimates in excess of 70 knots, tearing the camper structure off the frame of the car and blowing it out to sea. This is why the crash site appears like a high speed crash with such high levels of destruction. From what I can tell, the wind was accelerating through a small topographic feature that created the gust. I can’t be certain, this is just my assessment.

Immediately after the accident it was unclear who was injured and who wasn’t. For the first minutes we couldn’t find everybody amongst the debris. The details of what transpired over the next 30 minutes are not important, but in summary we determined that Greg had suffered a head laceration, Jenny had suffered a head injury, and Fiona had severely injured her back and was unable to move from the position she had landed when thrown from the vehicle. Laura, Jennah and myself escaped without substantial injury.

While waiting for an emergency response team to arrive, we stayed with Fiona and protected her from the swirling debris that were flying violently about the wreckage. It felt like we were in a Tornado. It took about 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and during this time it was unclear whether Fiona was bleeding internally. For all involved, these were the scariest moments of our lives as we thought we were losing her. An ambulance arrived and it was determined that Fiona needed to be emergency evacuated by Coast Guard helicopter to Reykjavik for immediate medical care.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.28.52 AMThe Coast Guard crew arrived after another 30 minutes and performed a skilled landing in the extremely gusty wind nearby. I was able to accompany Fiona on the flight and she was incredibly brave. Once in Reykjavik Fiona was attended to by a large team of medical experts in the cities primary hospital. It was quickly determined that Fiona has fractured her Sacrum and partially crushed her Pelvis. The Sacrum is the bone that connects the spine to the pelvis. The nature of Fiona’s injury is that the fracture is unstable, meaning she cannot not move without further endangering her spinal chord and neurological functions. During this evaluation period it was determined that much of Fiona’s neurological function is in tact. She can move her legs, toes, etc. However, the unstable condition of her bones meant she was at constant risk of further injury.

From Saturday to Wednesday (yesterday) Fiona was immobilized flat on a bed while her condition stabilized in Iceland. During this time we sent her CT scans and X-Rays to family and friends in the United States for review. We were extremely lucky for her case to be forwarded to an expert team in Boston who all agreed that Fiona required immediate surgery to stabilize her bones. Unfortunately this surgery is so complex that few surgeons around that world can perform it, and the hospital in Iceland was not suitable to perform it.

During this time Laura and Jennah were absolute rockstars, helping Fiona manage her pain and organizing all the logistics related to recovering our property from the accident. Volunteers walked the accident site and found more or less all of our belongings. For scale of the wind, one man found some of our wallets and phones 700 meters downwind from the wreck.

After days of logistical planning we were able to secure Fiona a flight on a commercial flight to Boston yesterday. The airline was extremely helpful and essentially folded 9 seats down such that a stretcher could be fixed above it. During transit she could not be moved from a laying down position without risking her spinal chord. Every time we moved her from one stretcher to another was extremely painful for her, but she handled it with absolute poise and courage. We arrived last night in Boston and were met with an emergency medical crew to transport Fiona from Logan airport to Massachusetts General Hospital. This transport went incredibly smoothly despite arriving from a foreign country. We are incredibly thankful for everybody’s efforts in facilitating this.

We are currently in Mass General where Fiona is scheduled for surgery tomorrow (Friday). The surgery is complex but we have one of the best specialists for this injury in the world performing it. She will be given a variety of screws and plates to stabilize her sacrum and pelvis and provide her the stability she requires to recover. Fiona has been brave beyond words through all of this, but this final major hurdle is understandably very scary for her and all of us that love her.

I apologize for sharing this information in such a crude manner as Facebook. We didn’t want to communicate this to friends publicly until we knew the full extent of Fiona’s injuries and the path forward to her recovery. Our best case scenario is that she will make more or less a full recovery without any neurological damage. It’s unclear whether this will happen or not, but her early tests suggest it is possible and we’re happy and thankful to be in that position given the severity of the accident. As with everything so far, we will cross each bridge as we reach it. We are thankful for the strength and love from both the Graham and Rynne families and feel confident that we can tackle whatever lies ahead.

Fiona will be incapacitated for some time and will not be able to read texts or emails on her own for approximately a week, maybe more. I am happy to read your notes to her, so feel free to pass them onto me either in this message thread or via direct message to me or email ([email protected]). I won’t be answering phone calls from anybody besides family during this time because I need to stay focused on being with her, so please stick to email or Facebeook messages for now. Down the road I will be sure to connect with you all in person, by phone or through email once I have time. In the meanwhile, please be patient.

There is nobody else in the world that has more strength, budding positivity, or determination than Fiona. This is one of the many reasons we all love her so very much. I know she can fight through this and win, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to get there.

much love,


October 5th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 7.48.28 AMWelcome to the 2015 Tour De France a la Voile, the seminal series barely rescued from an ignominious death last year and entering its final days of action down in Nice.  The new TdF is all about beaches, babes, trimarans, and action rather than sportsyachts, distance racing, and student teams.  Wanna see the balls-deep T-bone this shot comes from?  Click here for the full video of the crash.  For more links and discussion of the all-new event, hit the thread.


July 24th, 2015 by admin

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AFP photographer Jean-Sebastien Evard had another view of the Spindrift 2 versus Volvo Ocean Race RIB incident, and it differs from that of the Spindrift in several ways; first, that the RIB was stationary (though the prop wash in several pics calls that into question), and second, that the trimaran was under reduced sail (a photo and caption in his original story show a full main and solent).  Our thoughts go out to everyone effected by this horrific accident, and most especially to the woman fighting for her life in a hospital.  We have little doubt that phone videos and viewer accounts will help pin down the chain of events leading to this one and lay blame where it belongs, but for now, positive thoughts or prayer are in order.

Read the full account in French here.

This is the start of the ninth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, a prestigious sailing race around the world for monohulls. The Spindrift 2 is not among the competitors. But the boat in Lorient as home port, and it is traditional tall ships attend the race starts when they take place at home.

I find myself on a press boats with three other photographers and two pilots. The weather is beautiful, the working conditions are ideal. Before launching out to sea towards Gothenburg, the end point of the race in Sweden, the Volvo Race yachts must carry a small race course near Lorient.

The media boat on which I find myself took position at the limit of the exclusion zone strictly limited by the organizers not to hinder competitors near the starting line. There are always many people on the water on racing days. Several organizer boats are there to prevent boaters and jet skis that swarm around the perimeter to venture into forbidden.

I see the Spindrift 2 going to the starting line. Almost stopped, the boat turns to port and picks up speed. He heads straight for the marshal boats. Immediately, the maneuver seems dangerous. This trimaran is a real Formula 1 of the sea, with great sailing, unheard-of acceleration and tremendous inertia. The helmsman does not have a good view.   The Spindrift 2 is like a big ship, difficult to maneuver down the track towards a stopped marshal boat.  The boat driver knows that if he advances, his boat will pass under the hull of the trimaran. It seems paralyzed, like us, on board the press boat.

The scene lasts only three or four seconds. The shock is inevitable. I see the RIB occupants jump overboard in panic.  Life jackets inflate automatically on contact with water. One of the rudders of the trimaran hits with full force the side of the RIB, making a frightening noise that sounds like “tac”.  A woman is launched violently into the water. I am the only photographer on board the press boat to have the reflex to whip my camera into place and take 15 continuous images.  Why? I do not know … I have not had time to understand what happened.

Immediately, our skipper rushes to the scene of this rare accident, thirty or forty meters from us. But we will not have to intervene: In seconds, two National Rescue Society boats are already there and take things in hand.

A huge bloodstain slowly spreads in the sea near the RIB. After twenty minutes, a helicopter arrives, hoisting the victim aboard.  She looks in very bad shape…

Full google trans here.


June 17th, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE DIRECTLY FROM SPINDRIFT 2: While sailing under reduced sail, the Spindrift 2 trimaran collided with the RIB that crossed her path.  A person who was on board the motor boat was seriously injured before being taken over by the rescue and transported to the hospital Scorff Lorient. “We are primarily concerned about the health of the victim. All our thoughts are with her and her family,” said Spindrift 2 skipper Yann Guichard. “The team is deeply affected by this incident and of course, we are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations.”

Two photographers were thrown from a Volvo Ocean Race marshal boat and one woman reportedly sliced open by the rudder of the RTW Jules Verne record-owning Spindrift 2 during the Lorient start of the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.  There is precious little actual news about the incident, though one eyewitness told us it was ‘grisly’, and the three shot sequence of the knife-like rudder of the monster trimaran as it passed through the RIB (shot 1, shot 2, shot 3 via Getty/AFP) doesn’t need too much imagination to see just how bad the wounds probably are.

The woman, in her 40s, was airlifted to hospital, and the other three crew were brought in separately.  The VOR has something of a non-statement here, and we’ve been pestering the Spindrift 2 team for something from them as well.

Having seen the lack of awareness from the ‘stake’ or marshal boats at almost every stopover, we’re shocked this hasn’t happened sooner, and the ease with which the inexperienced underestimate the closing speeds of the latest flying and foiling boats makes it inevitable.

This whole thing brings up a much deeper problem that every organizer must now step up and accept; faster sailboats mean support boat drivers MUST BE BETTER TRAINED, and drone operators must be checked out and permitted by each event.  There is no way around it, and the longer we wait, the more people will lose their fingers, their toes, their limbs…or worse.

Photo from AFP via this story in Le Telegramme.

June 17th, 2015 by admin

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Some days, you just gotta stay home.  This dude on Sydney Harbour had one of those days, but at least the Manly Ferry folks had some fun!


March 3rd, 2015 by admin

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