Author Topic: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?  (Read 5539 times)

Nate Selstad

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Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« on: April 27, 2015, 09:04:19 AM »
Hope all is well for our GYA brethren.

Nate S

Billy Ellis

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 10:52:37 AM »
I am sorry to report that Erik Schmitz Lost #99 in the storm. Erik and crew were rescued and are safe with out serious injury. During the knockdown a large wave broke over the boat causing it it go turtle. The mast broke off and Erik and crew stayed with the boat. Eventually the pounding made the keel bolts give and sent the keel back through the boat to the top of the cabin. Eventually she righted herself and slowly sank as in the flotation tanks leaked due to the damage to the scotty bolts.
 As for me by dumb luck this was the one in ten years that I did not race. My prayers are with the families that suffered fatalities or have love ones still missing. The last count is two confirmed dead and up to 5 still missing. There is some eye opening video posted on youtube for anyone who cares to see what people had to endure.
-Billy Ellis
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 03:14:09 PM by Billy Ellis »

Jay Harland

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2015, 02:28:52 PM »
Glad Erik is ok.  That was a bad storm- hopefully they find some of the lost sailors.  Tough to lose a boat when we have so few but better than a sailor.

Hope the insurance is good so he can find a good replacement.

Jay

Billy Ellis

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2015, 10:39:19 PM »
The sad news is that another body was recovered today. There are three still missing at least one of which is a teen. On a positive note Erik plans to buy another U20. I think his boat may have been located or what is left of it.

Billy Ellis

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2015, 05:07:27 PM »
As of today 5 have been recovered and they are still searching for #6. This whole tragedy brings home the need to wear lifejackets in the majority of conditions we sail in. The positive note is that 99 has been recovered and that she never went to the bottom. A fisherman spotted her transome out in the gulf and retrieved her yesterday.  She has extensive damage but it should make us all proud that she did what she was supposed to do and would have provided a rescue platform for many days if it had come to that.

Mike Josselyn

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2015, 04:05:33 PM »
Terrible tragedy that reminds me of how quickly weather at sea can change.  You can see a brief glimpse of #99 being salvaged in this video.

http://www.local15tv.com//shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wpmi_search-shifts-recovery-at-sunset-missing-boater-20114.shtml#.VU-ANN1HarV


Billy Ellis

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 10:36:28 PM »
Wow Mike, good eye!

Jay Harland

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2015, 08:01:27 PM »
What are peoples procedures to deal with severe weather on a U20?  Be interested in feedback but this is would be my plan unless someone has a better one-

1.  Leave the dock with reef system hooked up and ready to go and verify extra gas in the tank to motor more than usual.

2.  Weather radio on and receiving updates throughout the race.

3.  Life jackets on at the first sign of weather (30 seconds - at most)

4.  Motor on the bracket at the first sign weather is approaching. (1 minute job)

5.  Reef main and furl jib or drop kite depending (30 seconds)

6.  Listen for severe weather alerts from NOAA and assess likely severity (1-2 minutes)

7.  If severe weather appears likely, start the motor turn into the wind, roll and stow the main and close the hatches (2 minutes)

8.  If main cannot be stowed because winds are too high and the boat is healing hard already then cut it loose and ditch the main in it the water to keep the deck clear.  Close the hatches. 30 seconds

9. Crank the motor up and wait for an opportunity between waves to turn down. Get turned downwind ASAP! 30 seconds

10.  Unfurl the jib and get the boat on a plane heading downwind to quarter the waves. Everyone to the back of the bus to get the bow up.  30 seconds

My basic thinking is this:  If the wind is 60kts and you get the boat doing 12kts downwind then the apparent wind is down to 48kts and you have some drivable control moving with the waves.  Our jib is so small it is like a storm jib.  By my count, you are 7 minutes from being ready to go from the first sign of weather if everybody on the boat knows what to do.  Our main is big and takes up a lot of space if you can't get it safely stowed quickly ditching it is my thinking on the safest way to go.  Eventually the jib will get shredded but ride it while it lasts.

Everyone else's 2 cents?

Thankfully the worst I have gotten is a blown jib window in a small squall - knock on wood.

Jay   

Travis Gregory

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2015, 03:35:19 AM »
A good topic to review.  I like your plan Jay!  A couple of thoughts from my experience in 40-45 knot squalls:

1)It seems like a lack of hatch boards can lead to the most catastrophic outcome.   Are the boards in an easy to reach place? I think I need to reconsider where I keep the vertical slat, it's often sliding around down below.

2) I don't think you need to get the jib out.  My experience is that you pick-up plenty of speed to quarter the waves with just a bare pole.  Furthermore, once the jib is un-furled in that much wind, you will have to douse it if you need to take it down.  It won't furl in that much wind. As a mater of fact it's tough to keep it furled in that much wind without wrapping the spinnaker halyard around it. 

 Mark A told me when they got hit by the squall at NA's in Sarnia, they dropped the jib and stowed it.  Then used a small amount of main sail pulled up and laid over the boom to get some speed and steerage to sail back to the marina.




Billy Ellis

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Re: Any of our U20 Family in Mobile Bay Storm?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 01:29:51 AM »
Sorry it has been a while since I have been on the site but I agree with Travis. In those conditions bare poles may be the way to go and at the most exposing just a patch of jib. It is nearly impossible to refurl so you must be very careful. The one thing to remember about what happened on Mobile Bay was 60 plus for over 30 minutes. That is very unusual for a typical squall line that last for ten minutes.  I think the most important thing is if you are not ready wearing a pfd get one on immediately.  I sail in the warmest area in the U20 fleet and unless it is light air I always wear one. History and experience has taught me that it is not one event that causes a drowning but a series of unforseen events that cascade from the one event that causes the catastrophe.