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Posts Tagged ‘shipwreck’

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Thick fog apparently led to the death of two sailors not far from Cape Town on Monday, when skipper George Mills ran his 47′ yacht Tara onto rocks near Table Bay.  Mills and Rachel Daly from Ireland died as the yacht was broken up, her injured husband reached shore and eventual rescue.  Another reminder of how unforgiving some coasts can be, and how slim the margin for error is at the intersection of rock and open sea. Our condolences to Mills and Dalys’ families.  Thread.

February 3rd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 1.25.50 AMClean Report

Like almost everyone, I hate awards ceremonies, even when I win something.  And since the ceremony for the VOR leg 2 awards in Cape Town was a 3 hour long snoozefest, I purposefully didn’t bring anything dressier than a ripped pair of jeans to Abu Dhabi, figuring it was a convenient excuse to avoid another parade of dignitaries who like to hear themselves speak. But when VOR media boss Jon Bramley told me ‘you’re my guest tonight’, the writing was on the wall, and jeans would have to do.

And boy, am I glad I went, because it was certainly the most dramatic awards ceremony I’ve ever attended, thanks to a crushing, then heartlifting presentation from OBR Brian Carlin, a choked up speech from Nico, and then the bombshell: Team Vestas Wind CEO and CMO of Vestas Group Morten Albæk’s nnouncement that Team Vestas Wind would be rejoining the fleet with a mostly new boat before the finish.   If you’ve been under a rock for a month, get the full story from my interview with skipper Chris Nicholson in Australia a couple weeks ago.

Details remain a little thin until tomorrow’s Vestas presser after the In-Port Race, but we can tell you a few things we found out:

1) The decision was literally made 24 hours ago.  A week ago they were almost sure it was over.

2) Nico has full control over selecting the crew for the rest of the trip.

3) He will take a few weeks to really mull it over.

4) Themes of redemption and unity in both Nico and Albaek’s speeches lead us to believe that the crew could remain entirely the same

5)  Lisbon may be too soon, but it’s the target.  Lorient is the backup, where we can be mostly certain to see the new blue boat begin her redemption song.

6) Vestas is 100% committed, as is co-sponsor Powerhouse.  They love this race and feel there is really only one choice for them if they want to send the right message to their employees, customers, and the world.

7) We will be able to follow the ‘race to rejoin the race’ via webcam and through updates, and the team’s sponsors are working on a documentary of the whole affair.  In many ways, this wreck – and the way it was handled – are the best and most important things that have happened to the race since the introduction of the Volvo 70.

Got questions for Team Vestas at the presser? Post ’em in the Resurrection Thread here and we’ll do our best to get them answered, and don’t forget we’ve got a great team bringing you live video coverage of the In-Port Race starting tomorrow at 0950 UTC.  That means an early morning for East Coasters and a late night for you Pacific Time folks.

Go here for some title-inspired redemption of your own, and thanks to GCaptain’s story (via shippingnews and the salvors) for the photo.

January 1st, 2015 by admin

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Team Vestas Wind Navigator Wouter Verbraak has been quiet since his early mea culpa on Facebook, but he’s not shying away from the camera here; our pals from NOS Sport got him for a good interview in Dutch, and then they went to the trouble to subtitle it just for the Anarchists.  And the story of the blue boat continues…


December 22nd, 2014 by admin

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Finally, here is the full story, as only the skipper could tell it.  55 minutes of everything about the why, the how, and the what next after the shipwreck that shocked the world.

Huge thanks to the M32 Series, Gosford Sailing Club, Redhanded TV, Penalty Box Productions, Morten and Team Vestas Wind, and Megan, the blonde groms, and Rusty for helping make it happen, and of course thanks to the Anarchists for giving us mostly excellent questions for Nico.

And if you want to see the boys in blue back in the race, tell them so on Facebook. 


December 17th, 2014 by admin

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Chris Nicholson sat down with us on Friday for his first real interview since his return to civilization, and with the help of about a hundred Anarchist-sourced questions we had an emotional, hour-long discussion that should answer all your questions about the grounding, the evacuation, the cleanup, the rescue, the salvage, and the future.  With both Clean and the Redhanded TV shooters in the air right now, the full edit will take a few days – but here’s a little teaser.

Be sure to check back right here on Wednesday for the full cut – it’s some of the best work we’ve ever done with one of our favorite skippers, and we owe a huge thanks to the following folks for helping to make it possible: Team Vestas Wind, the M32 Series, Redhanded TV, the Extreme Sailing Series, the Gosford Sailing Club, and of course Chris and Megan for making the long drive down to meet us.  If you want to see Nico back on the line in Newport, it’s time to start showing your support for TVW over on their Facebook Page.  You may very well make the difference…


December 12th, 2014 by admin

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We don’t know when we’ll stop finding the entire Vestas Wind drama interesting, but not today, and with the team finally headed to civilization, there’s plenty more to come.  To the few of you who’ve accused us of somehow whitewashing the whole affair or going easy on VOR management, we encourage you to watch this one all the way through; Frostad’s clear and honest answers and obvious admiration for what Nico and crew have accomplished during the toughest moment of their careers are just about perfect, and we’re not sure how anyone couldn’t be on their side after listening to him!

We’ve been told that SA is at the top of the interview list as soon as the team has been properly debriefed in the Emirates.  Got a question for Nico?  Post it here, and don’t bother if it isn’t really good.  The situation deserves more thought than usual.  Hardcore music lovers will know from whence our title comes…


December 6th, 2014 by admin

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The bad news is above, courtesy of an Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica photo of the Alvi ship’s log as the young guns stood by to assist the stricken Vestas Wind. Their entry, “Starboard side of vessel broken away” is, well, self-explanatory – but note that they are a fair bit away from the grounded boat, so don’t go writing the blue boat off just yet.

The good news comes from VOR Race Control, who has confirmed that the crew has now been rescued and will stay on the Íle du Sud, where there is a house and some facilities. All the crew is safe and nobody is injured.  Team Vestas Wind is making plans with Volvo Ocean Race on how to transport the crew off the island as well as how to salvage the boat, and Team Alvimedica has now been released and will continue racing towards Abu Dhabi.

As for the news we don’t have yet:  Now that Nico’s crew is safe, he and VOR will need to assess what can be done with several million Euro worth of racing yacht, and right quick as she is being beaten by swell and a reef.  Can she be hauled off the reef and then plucked out of the water by a container ship like Puma was last time around, or is she in too dire a shape?   Can she be temporarily fixed somewhere nearby?  And more importantly, will this team be able to rejoin the race?

And then there is the toughest question of all, and the one that several million sailors around the world are now asking: How could one of the most experienced race crews anywhere, with a multiple round-the-world veteran navigating, run into a charted island at 18 knots – an island that’s more or less on the rhumb line to the finish.  The mind boggles…

Big thanks to Team Alvimedica and the folks at VOR HQ for keeping the information more or less flowing.  The more that gets out there, the less we’ll all guess.


November 29th, 2014 by admin

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planeMissing cruisers, busted boats, widespread looting, stranded tourists and destroyed infrastructure (including big parts of the Cabo airport, left) are Hurricane Odile’s legacy for much of the coastal Baja Peninsula; our thoughts and hopes for a quick recovery go out to everyone affected by the storm. For reports and photos of the chaos, hit the Odile thread here.

Megayacht humanitarian aid worker Mark Drewelow pleaded with yachties for help.  “Every yacht big or small that intends to head south to Cabo needs to bring aid,” Drewelow said. “Recovery will take months. YachtAid Global is coordinating some efforts with Marine Group Boat Works, which also has a facility in Cabo San Lucas. The Marine Group Boat Works yard in Chula Vista is collecting items that are of critical immediate need: drinking water, basic first-aid stuff, food with a long shelf life, temporary shelters, small line. If you want to help, contact Leah Yam, Cabo Relief, at Marine Group Boat Works in Chula Vista at (619) 427-6767.”

Donate via YachtAid here.


September 18th, 2014 by admin

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Speaking of keels, Chartered Surveyor E.S. Geary says the Cheeki Rafiki tragedy wasn’t an accident, and that someone needs to be held accountable for playing a big part in the deaths of four sailors.  We’ll hold off until we hear the report from the MAIB, but we’re not disagreeing…more from Captain Geary:

At the moment the loss of the vessel is viewed and has been reported as an unfortunate accident – it wasn’t an accident.

The tragic death of the four crew and loss of the yacht was a result of third party incompetence and negligence and was preventable. Those who were responsible and negligent in the proper care and maintenance of the vessel should be indentified and held accountable to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. Having recently dealt with a number of claims on behalf London underwriters with similar deficiencies I believe the cause of this tragedy is obvious.

FF6FThe skipper’s first message reported the yacht was taking on water and requested the owners permission to divert to the Azores; he didn’t report striking anything. It’s apparent that the ingress of water reported by the skipper was experienced and began as the keel bolts lost integrity. The keel bolts were loose and leaking water as evidenced by the rust stains on the apertures which could have resulted from corrosion or metal fatigue; their ultimate failure allowed the keel to separate from the hull. Tightened keel bolts don’t fail, loose ones do. When total failure occurred the keel fell free causing the superficial damage to the hull laminates amidships. The damage, limited to the hull/keel join (amidships), is displayed in the photo below.

With a locator beacon being placed on the hull it could be recovered, but the keel will never be found. Unless it loses its buoyancy, the hull will continue in the prevailing currents towards Ireland and could, if necessary in subsequent litigation, be salvaged, though there’s no evidence to support their theory some ‘experts’ have speculated that the keel may have struck a semi-submerged object such as a container. With no impact damage to the hull there is no basis to support this theory.

A544However, whether the keel struck anything is irrelevant considering the undamaged hull and the undamaged apertures of the forward and aft keel bolts; their clean separation indicates the keel bolts were structurally unsound.

During the 640 nm voyage north the approximately 3500 kg keel was only partially held against the flat hull surface by the defective keel bolts which initially allowed to keel to move with a limited ingress of water. Unknown to the crew because of the sea state and parametric rolling which would have aggravated and accelerated ultimate failure, the keel would have experienced a slow swinging motion before it eventually dropped from the hull.

The inverted hull of the Cheeki Rafiki was found and the photo silently speaks volumes confirming the keel bolt failure that led to the loss of the keel and the rise of the VCG that resulted in the immediate capsizing of the vessel. The crew were experienced sailors so they would have been wearing life-vests, safety lines and in that area of the Atlantic probably were also wearing TPA’s (Thermal Suits). When the keel parted from the hull at night in the turbulent seas and fierce winds the four man crew would have had little time to avoid being dragged under by the sails and/or standing rigging when the immediate change of the VCG caused the hull to roll. It’s possible, but sadly I doubt the bodies will ever be recovered.

Having recently completed a survey with a similar problem, the life-raft didn’t inflate because the painter was improperly secured. If a life-raft painter line is loose or was improperly secured the life-raft won’t activate, can’t deploy and goes down with the vessel. Which is exactly what happened in this case.

This tragedy should not have happened. Through no fault of the crew the Cheeki Rafiki was sent to sea in an unseaworthy condition and those responsible should be held accountable. The families of the victim’s have a right to know of the unseaworthiness and that their loved ones paid a terrible price and died because of the gross negligence of others.

-Capt. E. S. Geary, P.Eng (UK),MRINA, SNAME
Chartered Surveyor (Admiralty & Maritime) – The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Registered Marine Surveyor – Federation of European Maritime Associations of Surveyors and Consultants
UK-Maritime & Coastguard Agency Code of Compliance Inspector (SCV)
MCA/US Coast Guard/US Maritime Administration Certified ISPS Code Port/Facility, Company & Vessel Security Officer


June 18th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 10.18.02 AM

Formerly ESP-65 Desafio Espanol and before that, USA-65 One World, this IACC boat has definitely seen better days.  Unfortunate situation or an allegory for the sorry state of Spanish sailing these days?  Pierre Orphanidis at Vsail has the story, and he took this excellent shot.

May 30th, 2014 by admin


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