Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-07-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,854
Another boat flip

This is a truly tragic situation where the guy tried to do right, but things went from bad to worse. I am very familiar with the area where the accident happened. There is only about one to one and a half miles of fetch for the wind in that area. The wind was blowing against the current in the channel, but the flow is down, it is a lake, I would estimate the current at less than 1 knot.

The Lake Shore area that they were returning is where my son stores his 26' Boston Whaler. I have built many condos in that development, and we kept a boat there for a few years. A friend and sometimes business partner of mine developed the Windward Point development mentioned just across the lake. Those familiar with the Privateer Yacht Club have probably raced sail boats in that area many times. It is usually very placid in the coves.

That being said, here is a cut and paste article from Chattanoogan.com our internet newspaper. I don't think the publisher, John Wilson, will mind my posting this.



Boaters, Neighbors Made Valiant Effort In Storm To Save Those On Capsized Pontoon Boat
Friday, July 06, 2012
A bass fisherman and several neighbors at Windward Cove off Webb Road on Lake Chickamauga made a valiant effort in a fierce storm to rescue 12 people on a capsized pontoon boat Thursday night.

The efforts saved 10 people on the boat as well as a puppy, but a 10-year-old girl and her grandmother, who got trapped below the overturned boat, did not survive.

Roger Forgey, a hospital executive who lives at Paradise Cove, said he was on his dock around 8 p.m. when he felt a breeze and then "the wind all of a sudden was unbelievable.


It almost knocked me off the dock."
He said about that time a young man pulled up in a fishing boat and asked if he could tie up there until the storm passed. He said he told the fisherman, Ben Brooks, he was welcome to do so and he could come up to his house to wait out the storm.

Mr. Forgey said by this time his dock was rising up and it appeared it might be toppled. He said, "We don't get waves like that back in the cove. It was a very unusual storm with the wind coming in from the north."

He said a short time earlier he had seen a pontoon boat tied up in the cove about 100 feet from his dock. "They were swimming and playing. I could see them and hear them. They were having a great time."

As the storm worsened and while still at the dock with the fisherman, he said he looked up and saw that the pontoon was going in circles in the cove. He said it speeded up and was headed back across the lake toward the main channel. He later found out they were headed toward Lakeshore, where the pontoon had started its trip. But he said as it reached the channel, the waves there were even stronger.

There was a wall of wind and waves that caught up the pontoon "and it came out of the water and went straight up. Then it flipped right on over," Mr. Forgey said.

He said he had seen those on the pontoon earlier putting on life jackets as they were leaving the cove and he saw that many on the boat jumped or fell into the water before it was completely flipped.

The former medic and trauma nurse practitioner who started the Life Force helicopter program said he hollered at Mr. Brooks, "The boat with the kids on it just turned over. We need to get out there." He decided his best option to help was to take out one of his jet skis because that would allow him to get closer to the overturned vessel. The storm was still raging, but he said, "I figured that if it did topple over that I could cling to it and stay afloat."

He said Mr. Brooks did brave the storm and got the bass boat out to the toppled pontoon - about 200 yards from shore. He said it had been about 300 yards off shore when it flipped.

Mr. Forgey said he was out with the father of the girl and was told that she was still under. The grandmother was already being rescued when he arrived. He said the father was able to pry the girl from under the pontoon and he was able to get her to the rescuers on shore. But she had been underwater for up to 10 minutes.

A neighbor, Mike Brown and his son, also had a boat and went out to the pontoon to help in the rescue. They got one of the mothers and one of the children out of the water."

The neighbors in Windward Cove took turns trying to revive the girl and grandmother on shore until medics finally arrived.

Mr. Forgey praised the actions of Ben Brooks and the Browns, saying, "What he did was pretty heroic. He risked his own life taking that small boat out in that storm the way he did."

He also praised his neighbors, including the Browns, saying, "They were heroic in their own right doing CPR, taking care of all the families and risking their own safety as well as the father of the 10-year-old and son of the grandmother for staying and making sure everyone was out of that boat before he would allow his own rescue. He lost his daughter and his mother, but he did all he could have done."
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 12:38 AM   #2
TF Site Team
 
FlyWright's Avatar
 
City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10,194
That is very sad and tragic for all involved.
__________________

FlyWright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
Guru
 
angus99's Avatar
 
City: Signal Mtn., TN
Country: US
Vessel Name: Stella Maris
Vessel Model: Defever 44
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,388
Thanks for posting, Don. We left Chattanooga Thursday when this happened and had not heard. They posted the little girl's picture this morning--just heartbreaking.

We often used an auxilliary channel marker near the entrance to that slough, usually as a reaching mark, when racing out of Privateer. (in fact, it's just out of the frame in my avatar.) If the wind is out of the SE or NNW, the fetch actually can be several miles, but waves like they described are unheard of.

We were on the road that day--still in TN--in a 24-ft U-haul when we were hit by a sudden gust that was incredibly powerful. Scared the h**l out of us. It knocked trees down and caused us to take shelter under a bridge. (not a smart idea, it turns out).

I know we see the past through a lot of filters, but I don't remember insane weather like this as often as it seems to be occurring these days. Between this and the Island Cove tornado earlier this year, blue water sailing is starting to sound safer than Chickamauga Lake.
angus99 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 11:32 AM   #4
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,854
Quote:
Originally Posted by angus99 View Post

I know we see the past through a lot of filters, but I don't remember insane weather like this as often as it seems to be occurring these days. Between this and the Island Cove tornado earlier this year, blue water sailing is starting to sound safer than Chickamauga Lake.
It was sort of an anomaly, but not too much of one. I have come down the channel in our trawler with house boats lined up behind. They couldn't run into the waves because of water breaking over their front decks and entering the cabins. For some reason, maybe because of the wind spilling over the mountains, that area is prone to wind shear. Since the wind was out of the northern quadrant that day, it sounds like what happened. We have been in some pretty bad thunder storms on the lake.

Some of the worst thunder storms I have seen were on the Chesapeake Bay. I'll still take the lake for safety over the Bay or blue water, but hey boats weren't meant to stay in the harbor.

A large pontoon boat should have been adequate for 12 people. I think the problem is that the initial stability of multi-hulls gives a false sense of security. Especially, if the operator does not understand how quickly that stability can change. It can go much quicker than a mono hull. Once upset, they seldom recover. Most lake boaters have no idea how their boat will react to big waves and wind. It is not even stressed enough in the public boating courses.

I think in the case of the little girl and her grandmother the life jacket worked against them. Trapped under the boat inside the rails and bulwarks it would be hard to swim down and back out. The flotation would be hard to overcome. I don't know if the father had the presence of mind to try to get the life jacket off or not.

I can't even imagine how the father feels right now.
__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 02:22 PM   #5
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,854
Quote:
Originally Posted by angus99 View Post

We often used an auxilliary channel marker near the entrance to that slough, usually as a reaching mark, when racing out of Privateer. (in fact, it's just out of the frame in my avatar.) .
Angus, that auxiliary channel is marked on the charts. It is the channel used when the old Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant was operating. The plant supplied TNT for explosives during WWII, Korean, and Vietnam wars. The pump house point referred to was the dock and pump house the tow boats tied to. They brought in toluene, one of the Ts in TNT, to be pumped up to the plant a good distance away. That area is used regularly in course racing at PYC.
__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
Guru
 
Carey's Avatar
 
City: Bellingham, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Happy Destiny
Vessel Model: Custom Lobster Yacht
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,101
Given what I have read about both of these incidents, they appear to be simply a matter of overloading the topside. The pontoon boat also had an upper deck, which in my mind should never have had more than three or four people up there at one time. Another way to look at it might be to limit the topside guests to 10% of the total, leaving 90% as ballast.
__________________
Carey Worthen
Master of Disaster
Carey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 05:41 PM   #7
Guru
 
angus99's Avatar
 
City: Signal Mtn., TN
Country: US
Vessel Name: Stella Maris
Vessel Model: Defever 44
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,388
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonstruck View Post
Angus, that auxiliary channel is marked on the charts . . . That area is used regularly in course racing at PYC.
Yeah, I'm pretty familiar with that spot, Don. In addition to racing around it, I've been on several PYC committee boats that set the pumping station mark, as we call it, as a reaching mark. The fetch there with a NW wind is 4 or 5 miles.

Racing sailboats with fixed keels usually stay away from that side in the winter, when the water's down . . . some of us learning the hard way . . . although depth should not have played a role in this tragedy.

You're also right about the effects of the ridges creating turbulence on that lake. I've seen sailboats on the same tack pass each other going in opposite directions almost close enough to toss each other a beer. Mostly, that can happen close to shore where the wind eddies strongly. But the wind hardly ever blows from one direction consistently anywhere on Chickamauga.
__________________

angus99 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012