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SV Preston Point rescue

May 22, 2020
53
Catalina 22 Iowa
As a lake/river sailor, this story has many lessons for myself and probably others. What do we think happened here?

 
Feb 20, 2011
7,501
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Helo might have dropped the swimmer downwind, and some sailors should stick to lakes/rivers?
 
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Oct 22, 2014
13,083
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Appears from the story that the boat owner was relying on his auxiliary. The primary engine on a sail boat is the sails. We learn the skill of reefing so that we can adjust the sail to deal with changing conditions.

Even a small triangle of jib in a 35 kt breeze will provide steerage to a boat. Sailing on an ocean even a generally peaceful sea, can change. Do a weather work up, even when planning to cruise in known waters.

Remember the crew of the SS Minnow were only heading out for a 3 hour cruise off Hawaii...
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
3,977
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I'm incensed!
These people, apparently without the sense to check a weather report, asking others (probably with families) to risk their lives to save them from their own stupidity. It sounds like the rescue swimmer was pretty lucky (and very well trained) to survive.
 
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Oct 10, 2019
57
Signet 20 107 Ithaca
They threatened in a couple of places I'm aware of (Mount Hood in Oregon and the White Mountains of New Hampshire) to fine people who went out hiking unprepared and required expensive and dangerous rescues, or at least charging them for the expense involved.

It was generally agreed by the rescue community that doing so would make people hesitant to call for help, thus escalating their problems and making the situations even more dangerous for everyone involved.

I've been fortunate to survive all my life stupidity without need of outside assistance (so far), but maybe I'm smarter than the average bear, or damn lucky, or maybe I'm just kinda boring...
 
Nov 6, 2006
8,820
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
Lesson there is to learn to maintain control of the boat in heavy air..
At some point, all "big water" sailors are going to have to deal with it.. I got a serious lesson a month after buying my boat in late '91.. A super cell grew a few miles from us and produced a very strong microburst that caught the captn' (me, that inexperienced dummy!) off guard while he was watching in amazement instead of reefing.. It subsided after a few very long minutes and I decided I didn't want to do that again..
 
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srimes

.
Jun 9, 2020
189
Macgregor 26D Brookings
They threatened in a couple of places I'm aware of (Mount Hood in Oregon and the White Mountains of New Hampshire) to fine people who went out hiking unprepared and required expensive and dangerous rescues, or at least charging them for the expense involved.

It was generally agreed by the rescue community that doing so would make people hesitant to call for help, thus escalating their problems and making the situations even more dangerous for everyone involved.

I've been fortunate to survive all my life stupidity without need of outside assistance (so far), but maybe I'm smarter than the average bear, or damn lucky, or maybe I'm just kinda boring...
Coast guard rescues stuck hikers and kayakers from the coastal cliffs every year out here. And there's always a few that don't get rescued...

It's expensive but the cost to the taxpayer is minimal. There's plenty of other government bloat to cut first.
 
Oct 10, 2019
57
Signet 20 107 Ithaca
In Oregon, the National Guard objected, said there weren't many other opportunities for real world training
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,157
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
If I read the account accurately the rescue swimmer was in the water up to 12 hours? He and the boaters weren't rescued until the next AM? USCG is lucky they didn't lose the swimmer. Something went wrong here. The helo had to leave the area due to low fuel. Was it then too dangerous to send another? Was the helo unable to refuel in the air, or did someone decide not to put that much resources into the situation? If the latter and I were the swimmer I'd leave that service. Maybe the swimmers are trained to stay in the water than long but I'd be really pissed. The boat and crew survived, no capsize. The whole situation is FUBAR.
 
Jan 19, 2010
8,816
Hunter 26 Charleston
The whole situation is FUBAR.
I agree and I think there are some very good questions we could/should ask. I have been on this forum for 11 years and before that I was on some brand specific forums. Stories like this happen a few times a year and most of them end with the group-think conclusion that the rescue-ese were idots and we should have let Darwin have his way. I don't think that is a useful assessment. All we know about the sailor's situation from this story is from this quote

"...the sailors called Coast Guard Sector Key West to report their engine was disabled and they were in danger of capsizing "

We don't know anything about the boat, if it had already taken a breaking wave, how the engine became disabled, if someone on the boat was injured or sick, if the sails were intact... etc. All we know is the rescue swimmer was not able to swim to the boat.

I would find it helpful and educational to know more about their situation. For example...
1) How did the engine become disabled? Had it been well maintained?
2) How long had they been out? Had they planned on being back to port before the storm and things went sideways or did they fail to check the weather? If they failed to check then maybe Darwin should have his way.
3) Were they experienced sailors or relative novices?
4) Was the boat set up for heavy air sailing? If not, maybe we give another pass to Darwin.
5) Was someone injured or sick and unable to help manage the boat? If so, how did it happen?
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,581
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
If the air crew knew they were approaching fuel limits; why didn't they pick up rescue swimmer before departing.
No matter how well these swimmers are trained, seems like a bad decision to leave a swimmer in the water overnight. He certainly couldnt help the sail crew and could have been lost at sea or drowned.
 
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Jul 5, 2011
536
Oday 28 Madison, CT
Yes, what were they doing there and in 35 kts you would think he would have a storm jib or reefed jib up for boat control. Wave height is not everything also. Interval plays a big role but you have to keep the boat under control and for that you need forward motion.
 
Oct 10, 2019
57
Signet 20 107 Ithaca
Losing your swimmer is probably just about the worst thing you can do as the chopper commander, so they must have had no choice. As always, there are a lot of unknowns...
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,083
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Fairly ease to speculate about the boat crew.
May have been suffering from "Mal de mere" . It can be debilitating.
Fear also plays a factor when out on water and events are spinning out of control.
 
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