sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Salty Dawg Rally: aftermath of Gulf Stream storm havoc
Salty Dawg Rally: aftermath of Gulf Stream storm havoc


'Salty Dawg Rally - it’s meant to end like this, and maybe it still will for most yachts in the rally'    .

The woes of some of the boats in the Salty Dawg Rally in crossing the Gulf Stream during stormy weather have drawn critics and defenders alike. In any rally there is no doubt that each skipper is required to make his or her own call as to their departure and all other decisions during a rally.

However, some of the stories coming back from the US Coast Guard accounts and even from the sailors themselves makes one wonder whether some sailors were less than well prepared for the conditions, with several sounding a distress and then withdrawing their call.

Two of the survivors, Bruce Grieshaber and Becky Meinking, who had sold all their worldly possessions to purchase a boat and sail away to the Caribbean, told media outlets that they had 'they trained extensively with the Salty Dawg Rally organizers before setting sail', implying that they were inexperienced sailors and hence ill-prepared for such a first journey.

They, with two other crew, were aboard the 41ft sailboat, Ahimsa. They sent out a distress signal via a satellite tracking device, stating they were taking on water 230 miles east of Virginia Beach and were in need of assistance. At approximately 0130, all four crewmembers were rescued by a Jayhawk helicopter and taken to Air Station Elizabeth City.

The skipper Grieshaber later told Wavy.com how the boat was 'taking on too much water' and seemed to have a 'structural problem', caused by the waves. They radioed the rally network and then called the Coast Guard for help.

They were seasick. They were tired.

'Death did cross my mind,' said Meinking. 'But I was determined to do everything we could do to stay alive.'

Hope came in a helicopter. The Coast Guard lowered a swimmer, Petty Officer 2nd Class Chad Watson, into the water with a harness. The couple and their two friends on board had to swim to the harness. Meinking went first. Grieshaber watched the current take her toward the rescue swimmer.

'He found her within seconds,' Grieshaber said, fighting back tears. 'It seemed like an eternity. It was not easy.'

One by one they were pulled into the helicopter. Like a true captain, Greishaber was the last to leave the vessel.

'When that diver grabs you...there is nothing like it,' he said.

They are staying with friends in Smithfield because all of their worldly possessions were on the 41-foot sailboat they left behind. No-one is asking whether they could have saved their boat by staying on board.

The Caribbean 1500, another rally also planning to travel from Hampton Roads to the Caribbean, departed ahead of schedule last weekend in a single pack to get out ahead of bad weather. Social media posts and online forums in the US East Coast sailing fraternity have been full of questions about the wisdom of Salty Dawg's setting sail with such a narrow window to beat rough weather.

Andy Schell, in charge of planning the Caribbean 1500, described how the threat of back-to-back cold fronts prompted event organizers to set sail a day early from Portsmouth. Each of the 30 boats participating in that event crossed through the Gulf Stream without issue, Schell said.

'Nobody wants to see this happen,' Schell said. 'It's really a shame. That's why we use the sailing model that we use - to minimize the risk as much as possible and keep everyone safe.'

The Caribbean 1500, which charges a participation fee and adheres to International Sailing Federation safety standards, has long required each boat to submit to pre-event safety checks and strongly suggests that its participants set sail within a certain window. If the boats hadn't left a day early, Schell said, forecasts suggested it would be at least a week before conditions improved enough to begin the event.

Roughly 115 boats participated in the third-annual Salty Dawg Rally, some leaving early to avoid the worst of the weather. Most serious problems occurred late Thursday as those who left on schedule sailed into strong crosswinds and choppy seas some 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Two boats lost their masts; four others had serious rudder problems. One sailor lost his footing and broke an arm. Crew members from other boats reported intense seasickness.

In all, the Coast Guard responded to five distress calls from Salty Dawg participants.

By Thursday evening, the 41-foot sailboat Ahimsa had foundered, its crew rescued.

Other boats let off distress signals, only to reverse their decision that they needed rescuing.

The crew of the 38-foot sailboat Nyapa sent a satellite signal indicating they had lost their mast and were taking on water. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane that had been circling above the Ahimsa was diverted toward the distress signal. The boat's crew later reported that the vessel was fine - minus the mast - and that they were continuing the journey by motor.

The crew of the sailboat Aurora also sent out a distress signal when conditions turned ugly, but they later contacted another sailboat, which passed word to the Coast Guard that the crew had decided to head for Bermuda.

The fourth vessel in distress, the Braveheart, was about 50 miles southeast of Ocracoke Inlet when the crew reported that a 67-year-old man had a serious arm injury. The Coast Guard Cutter Block Island arrived, intending to accompany the Braveheart back to shore. Instead, it was diverted to help yet another disabled sailboat, Zulu, so Braveheart successfully sailed to Morehead City, N.C. on its own.

The Block Island found the 54-foot sailboat Zulu adrift about 100 miles east of Oregon Inlet. The cutter crew was actually able to assist this time, towing the boat to shore Friday morning.

The Salty Dawg Rally started three years ago after a core group of mariners from the Caribbean 1500 broke away. Linda Knowles and her husband founded the rally 'for seasoned mariners who desired a less rigid experience'. The group doesn't charge a participation fee, and the responsibility for deciding when to set sail is entrusted to each skipper.

'It's not as if we're just a bunch of wayward sailors who leave when we want and do what we want and don't pay attention to forecasts,' Knowles said, noting that her group provides 'training opportunities' and daily sailing forecasts. 'We give them advice, but the decision as to when they go is totally up to them, and they're responsible for that decision.'

Though the official start date of the Salty Dawg Rally was November 4th, the philosophy of the rally holds that each skipper is responsible for their own schedule, so boats departed beginning November 2 on through to November 8.

Though the Rally’s renowned weather router, Chris Parker, warned of a strong front passing over the mouth of the Chesapeake November 4 and 5, he couldn't have predicted the way the front slowed and grew more intense as it passed over the bulk of the fleet on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Many of the Salty Dawg fleet are headed to Bermuda to lay over until the weather improves while the rest are carrying on to their final destination, the British Virgin Islands.


by Mike Hixenbaugh,PilotOnLine/Sail-World round-up

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=116550

9:37 PM Sun 10 Nov 2013GMT


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







News - USA and the World



ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,






































470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification by 470 International Association Class,












A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,




ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video by Luissa Smith, International 470 Class Association,










470 Men and Women World Championships - Racing abandoned on day 2
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Two long races today for the J70 fleet
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Impressive to sail out of the Golden Gate
Extreme Sailing Series - Istanbul delivers four days of great racing
ISAF Sailing Worlds Santander - Day 3 images by Sail-World.com
Extreme Sailing Series: Emirates Team NZ bounces back for series win
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - Light winds and current test six classes
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Solid Day 3 for US Sailing Team
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 3 images by Jesus Renedo
Marseille One Design 2014 - GC32 Armin Strom blitzes final day   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Una Etapa 0 complicada para todos   
Santander 49ers: Olympic Gold Medallist says two into 90 does not go!! *Feature   
GBR aiming for first ever Nacra 17 Games berth at Santander Worlds   
Volvo Ocean Race: Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 – Images by Dan Ibsen   
Santander Worlds – already a spectator success   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 - Day 3 morning report   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Tales from the extreme   
Volvo Ocean Race: Latest starter wins opening race   
2014 J/70 World Championship - Healy, Abdullah, Becker and Borges win   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Full-blown, once again   
ISAF Worlds - Americans jump up Laser and Laser Radial leaderboard   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 2 images from Sail-World.com   
America's Cup: Luna Rossa sailing with two foiling AC45's + Video   
Extreme Sailing: Emirates Team NZ retain second overall   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio Olympic Laser spots snapped up   
Rolex Swan Cup - All set for final showdown   
Upper Midwest sailors need help to take it to the next level   


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  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-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.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT