News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Cruising Int Photo Gallery
Sail-World.com : One sailing incident and the lessons learned
One sailing incident and the lessons learned

'Sailing double-handed has its own challenges - whether racing or cruising, whether for a day or a month'    .

One of the most heart-warming aspects of all sailing is the incredible cooperation and transfer of knowledge between sailors. Last year there was a serious incident during the Newport Bermuda Race, from which many lessons could be learned, by both cruising and racing sailors alike, and racing organisations take them very seriously.

However, some of these lessons are even more pertinent for the cruising sailor who may be many days away from help and without the support structure of race organisers and participants who in this case made a desperate - and successful - attempt come to the rescue of one stricken sailor.


The incident, as told by John Rousmaniere:
The Newport Bermuda Race is closely followed by an onshore team of race officials alternating four-hour watches as they monitor emails, satphone and radiotelephone calls, and the online tracker that identifies entries and their positions. At a little after 2000 EDT on the 2012 races third night, June 17, watch-stander Nicholas Weare, based in Bermuda, received an email from the races consulting physician in Massachusetts. He promptly reported it to race officials:

Message received from Dr. Barbara Masser advising that she lost satphone contact 7:49 EDT while in communication with Seabiscuit regarding a 38-year-old insulin dependent male who has not eaten or drunk for 24 hours, with elevated blood sugar and appears confused. (He was sailing double-handed.)

These were the first two of more than two dozen emails (not to mention many satphone and radio calls) sent over the next seven hours concerning the serious problem on board Seabiscuit, a J-46 in the races Double-Handed Division. The effort to assist and, eventually, evacuate the seasick sailor, Nathan C. Owen, included more than two dozen people, including race officials, rescue personnel in the U.S. and Bermuda, and the crews of two other racing boats and a cruise ship.

As Dr. Masser (Associate Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Needham, Mass.) tracked Owens condition, she advised that he needed saline IV hydration and might have to be taken off Seabiscuit. Steven Thing, Chair of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committees Communications Committee and Emergency Management Team, got to work considering means of providing medical assistance and, if needed, evacuation.

Conditions were far from optimum. The wind was blowing hard, the sea was rough, night had fallen, and Seabiscuit had no seasickness medication or IV hydration equipment. Owens crew, Jonathan Green, was sailing the boat alone, handling communications, and caring for his shipmate. If Owen were evacuated, Green would be obliged to get the boat to Bermuda, nearly 200 miles ahead, very likely without assistance.

In addition, communications were spotty. Many satellite phone calls were either dropped in mid-conversation or not picked up, although emails were getting through as were voice messages on the satphones that had voicemail capability.

Green made a call on VHF Channel 16 asking nearby boats for IV bags. Very soon Flying Lady, a Swan 46 sailing in the race, was heading toward Seabiscuit with a full complement of medications and a well-qualified crew that included an EMT, a dentist, and three doctors. The owner, Dr. Philip Dickey (a neurosurgeon), spoke with Dr. Masser by satellite phone and also with the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre /RCC Bermuda (BRCC), one of whose officials told him, We want someone on the boat who can give him fluids. We want you to get on board Seabiscuit.

Concerned that Flying Lady might not get Owen to Bermuda quickly enough, the BRCC tasked the 86-foot Spirit of Bermuda, a replica of a trading schooner that was in the race about 80 miles ahead of Seabiscuit, to join the effort. Spirits captain, Scott Jackson, turned around and headed back. The three boats powered toward each other on courses set with the assistance of the onboard mandatory boat-trackers required by the race and their Automatic Identification System devices (Once I got AIS I'd never do without it again, Dickey would say).

Flying Lady reached Seabiscuit first, but the rough sea prohibited her crew from jumping on board. After briefly considering inflating a life raft (which would have left one boat without a raft), Dr. Dickey tossed across tape, IVs, and saline. Owens condition briefly improved, but then declined. Dr. Masser recommended that he be evacuated by one of the two cruise ships in the area that Jackson had spotted on AIS. Owen stepped off Seabiscuit at 0300. Green continued racing at 9 knots speed and arrived Bermuda without incident.

After the race, at the race prize ceremony at Government House, special seamanship awards were presented to Jonathan Green of Seabiscuit, Philip Dickey of Flying Lady, and Scott Jackson of Sprit of Bermuda.

Lessons learned:
Following the incident there were frank discussions of lessons learned in a debriefing at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, in replies to a questionnaire circulated to 21 people involved in the incident, and in John Rousmanieres detailed incident report to the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee. Below is a summary of findings.

Seasickness and dehydration:
Seasickness puts lives at risk. Seasickness medication must be trialed by each member of the crew prior to going offshore, checking for side effects, and be used prophylactically wherever the boat is sailing. All vessels must be equipped with proper seasickness and anti-nausea medication, including suppositories (for times when oral medication cannot be held down) and IV saline to provide emergency hydration. At least one crew member should be trained and assigned to monitor crew health and medications. 2012 Bermuda Race Chair John Osmond (a medical doctor) has recommended that sailors take a first- aid course/safety seminar addressing seasickness and dehydration.

Communications:
Crews must be thoroughly familiar with and practice on their satellite phones and radiotelephones. Satphone calls were lost and dropped because the phone or volume was turned off, or because service providers could handle only a limited number of voice calls at time. Voicemail and email are extremely valuable options for offshore satphonesbut they work only if the crews frequently check for messages.

Emergency/crisis management:
The question Who was in charge? in the questionnaire elicited a large variety of answers. Because some confusion is probably inevitable in such situations, a crisis management plan that looks sound on paper may not be suitable in action. Every plan should be tested in trial runs by its team and rescue officials.

Another crucial issue is having necessary data readily available. Telephone numbers and other contacts for boats, rescue services, and homes must be known and carefully recorded and stored where they are instantly accessible.

Nobody should underestimate the importance or demands of these incidents and the efforts to deal with them. As Royal Bermuda Yacht Cub Commodore Jonathan Brewin observed, 'We were dealing with just one boat and one casualty. If four or five boats were involved, we wouldn't be able to handle all of it. We need to have a team ready to work.'

This means that the cruising sailor, with no guaranteed 'team', needs to be sure not to be in this situation in the first place!


by Newport Bermuda Race/Sail-World Cruising

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=106538

7:11 AM Wed 13 Feb 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

13 Feb 2013  Lessons all boat owners can learn from Hurricane Sandy
05 Feb 2013  Calling UK Sailing Clubs: Attend RYA Club Clinics 2-3 March
01 Feb 2013  Look for These Hidden Monsters of the Seven Seas!
13 Jan 2013  Three thieves of boat engine's reliability - vital info for sailors
09 Jan 2013  Women Californian sailors meet for convention
07 Jan 2013  MOB - Learn the 'Elevator' Recovery Technique!
04 Jan 2013  Yacht restoration school - Open House in January
15 Dec 2012  Preparing for heavy sailing weather before it arrives!
14 Dec 2012  Ocean Cruising preparation - the London Boat Show
19 Nov 2012  What's the minimum your sailing partner should know?
MORE STORIES ...






Cruising USA









Springtime Greening: Boaters Tips for Earth Day by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,








How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,


Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,








Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,




















Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know? by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,












Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world by Asia News Network/Sail-World Cruising,








3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters
Product of the Week: the LineGrabber
Mediterranean Mooring - How to moor stern-to to a dock or quay
Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant
Volunteer Canadian rescue team homeless - any offers?
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?
Health benefits of sailing
Cruising in the Maldives - some nuts and bolts
ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising
Halyard Tension - a video
Winchrite - for lazy days or extra muscle-power
Researcher examines 'current leaks' that may change the way you sail   
Paris off to attempt to circumnavigate the world again   
Need a tow from that helicopter? - watch the video and don't laugh   
Certain oil spill products shown to be ineffective and toxic + Video   
The Constrictor: a powerful 'Queen' of sailing knots!   
Boat painting - simple but best tips   
'It's never just one thing' - Swedish sailors rescued   
Cruising Club of America celebrates outstanding sailors of 2013   
Book of the Week: From the Galley of...   
Two brave women to sail India to Oman across Arabian Sea   
Rhode Island's Classic Yacht Symposium - Registration opens   
Bad Karma as roving American cruising sailor fined in New Zealand   
Another rescue for second-time unlucky solo sailor   
New York to San Fran record attempt - Maserati reaches the Horn   
Finally the book:HMS Bounty, Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy   
Yachts impounded in Mexico - the agony goes on...   
Students achieve robot boat Atlantic Crossing - but not as planned   
Endurance Award for cruising sailors, new worldwide award for 2014   
It's coming. Dodgers/biminis to be solar power producers   
New Maldives rule - yachts can stay six months   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL NEW Cru USA