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Old 03-14-2015, 06:20 PM   #61
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The worst that can happen....

Ok, I try to consider that and then what it really means. I'm not going to die over mechanical failure. So absolute worst case is middle of Atlantic and we all are rescued and boat is lost at sea. I don't like that thought, but there are many reasons I carry insurance and pay what I do for it. Peace of mind is one of those reasons. Boats can be replaced. Lives can't.

That's why I'm far more concerned with someone getting injured or having a serious illness or condition when we're not near land and medical care.

I am naturally a worrier but thinking through it all in advance lets me cruise worry free. 6-8' at short intervals, I know the boat and I can handle. Engines, I know are serviced and in good condition. Fuel, the same, plus have polishing. But if something happens half way across the Atlantic, guess we'll just watch some television until someone can make it to us. However, I do think we're prepared and won't get stranded.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:24 PM   #62
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In my experience...being rescued at sea after a mechanical failure is not always the outcome. Dying is occasionally the outcome with a much higher percentage when out of range of rescue helos.
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Old 03-14-2015, 07:42 PM   #63
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I won`t tempt fate, but my boat is much more reliable than when I bought. How reliable, I can`t say? But more than it was. It just passed a surprisingly thorough insurance survey. You have to put some trust in it. Lke mountain biking on trails, you come over a crest, the rutted trail drops to a rocky creek, you can`t brake, you have to go with it. Have faith, but maintain a watch.
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Old 03-14-2015, 07:56 PM   #64
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In my experience...being rescued at sea after a mechanical failure is not always the outcome. Dying is occasionally the outcome with a much higher percentage when out of range of rescue helos.
I don't know the ratio, but I know you can do things to considerably influence it to your side. The boat itself is a start. Many of those not rescued are not in ocean worthy boats. Then it's emergency preparation-life rafts, skills in getting them launched. Means of letting your precise location be known.

Is there risk? Obviously. But it can be managed to a reasonable level. I'll toss fire in the equation too and many aren't prepared to deal with it.

I don't know what you've seen and recognize the extent of your experience. However, the rescues I see most frequently tend to be under-prepared and equipped sail boats and small fishing craft. Sailors set out single handed simply because it has been done by others successfully. Well, toss ferries in near the top of the list. As to well prepared motorboats such as trawlers, there obviously are some extreme and unusual situations that lead to disaster.

Now what each person has to do is manage the risk and danger to a level they are comfortable with. For me that's a substantial boat and more than adequate crew plus a lot of training.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:09 PM   #65
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...Of course, I'm boating in the protected waters of the SF Bay and CA Delta so if I start taking on water, all I need to do is call the USCG and head for the nearest shore to step off. I don't mean to compare my mild waters to your world of the big ocean. It's a different story when you're a couple hundred miles offshore.
Ditto, and have prepaid for towing.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:10 PM   #66
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EPIRB two year permit just renewed. Going offshore without one seems, well, unreliable.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:16 PM   #67
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EPIRB two year permit just renewed. Going offshore without one seems, well, unreliable.
We are required to carry one offshore, it has to be registered with AMSA(Aust. Marine Safety Authority). If it gets fired they know which boat, your land contacts, etc. Another safety arrow in the quiver.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:17 PM   #68
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I don't know the ratio, but I know you can do things to considerably influence it to your side. The boat itself is a start. Many of those not rescued are not in ocean worthy boats. Then it's emergency preparation-life rafts, skills in getting them launched. Means of letting your precise location be known.

Is there risk? Obviously. But it can be managed to a reasonable level. I'll toss fire in the equation too and many aren't prepared to deal with it.

I don't know what you've seen and recognize the extent of your experience. However, the rescues I see most frequently tend to be under-prepared and equipped sail boats and small fishing craft. Sailors set out single handed simply because it has been done by others successfully. Well, toss ferries in near the top of the list. As to well prepared motorboats such as trawlers, there obviously are some extreme and unusual situations that lead to disaster.

Now what each person has to do is manage the risk and danger to a level they are comfortable with. For me that's a substantial boat and more than adequate crew plus a lot of training.
absolutely you can increase your chances of survival...I just pointed out that it is not a done deal either way when all you have is a "mechanical failure".
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:47 PM   #69
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Traveler how about this for a slightly outside the box exercise as you are obviously a knowledgeable and prudent boater. For your next big offshore fishing trip hire a professional captain and deckhand for the trip. See if it is perhaps the mantel of leadership that is giving you the anxiety. There is a lot to be responsible for on a vessel your size and there's a reason many folks in your size class choose to hire a captain. I think you mentioned in a previous post how much more relaxed you where on another persons boat.

I liked the idea put forward of having a trusted surveyor put together a deficiency list for you to address too.
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:51 PM   #70
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Some news very close to this topic.

3 Rescued, 1 Dead, as Tug Sinks Off Fire Island | NBC New York

Tugboat sinks just one mile off Fire Island, NY.

They radioed they were taking on water. 3 Survivors, 1 Dead. Difference was the three were wearing immersion suits and the one wasn't. Icy cold waters. Very foggy and took Coast Guard around 45 minutes. Can only wonder the cause of both the boat taking on water and it going down so quickly. One other item, lost signal before Coast Guard got there.

Hate to see tragedy, but this is the type event to give us proper respect but not scare us, and to help us not make similar mistakes.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:00 AM   #71
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Traveler how about this for a slightly outside the box exercise as you are obviously a knowledgeable and prudent boater. For your next big offshore fishing trip hire a professional captain and deckhand for the trip. See if it is perhaps the mantel of leadership that is giving you the anxiety. There is a lot to be responsible for on a vessel your size and there's a reason many folks in your size class choose to hire a captain. I think you mentioned in a previous post how much more relaxed you where on another persons boat.

I liked the idea put forward of having a trusted surveyor put together a deficiency list for you to address too.
Traveler,

As well as the above, I do find I am more prone to sea sickness now than two years ago. Why? I think simply it's more stressful for me.

But, earlier I mentioned about knowing your boat. One of the first things you should understand is that mechanical failures do NOT happen randomly. But one thing can lead to another.

I learned this early on, after being stranded in the front range of Colorado, when my fuel injection belt broke. It took almost all day to get home, next day go to dealer to get new belt, then finally a few days later, get back to car. As I'm changing the belt, I noticed a one inch by 1/4" sliver of the fan belt sticking out.

What had happened is that silver, after going around zillions of times, was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and got wedged between the fuel injection belt and it's pulley, thus braking the belt.

I had seen this fray in the fan belt, but since I carried a spare fan belt, I figured there was no haste in changing it.

I was wrong and learned a valuable lesson.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:50 AM   #72
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Traveler,

As well as the above, I do find I am more prone to sea sickness now than two years ago. Why? I think simply it's more stressful for me.

But, earlier I mentioned about knowing your boat. One of the first things you should understand is that mechanical failures do NOT happen randomly. But one thing can lead to another.

I learned this early on, after being stranded in the front range of Colorado, when my fuel injection belt broke. It took almost all day to get home, next day go to dealer to get new belt, then finally a few days later, get back to car. As I'm changing the belt, I noticed a one inch by 1/4" sliver of the fan belt sticking out.

What had happened is that silver, after going around zillions of times, was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and got wedged between the fuel injection belt and it's pulley, thus braking the belt.

I had seen this fray in the fan belt, but since I carried a spare fan belt, I figured there was no haste in changing it.

I was wrong and learned a valuable lesson.
Richard,
First, as I vicariously experienced your recent crossing, I couldn't help but wonder "what is this poor guy's plan B, if he should have a breakdown." I prayed for you, literally.
Second, I do my best to stay on top of everything in my boat. My engines are white, there is no rust, and the earliest indication of anything leaking or overheating or making a funny noise or consuming more fuel than it should, or the transmission slipping (because I have a digital tach and compare shaft rpm x reduction against indicated rpm), or anything smelling funny, or any vibration, etc., I will be on it. When I change and impeller, the new one comes from my spares and the replacement goes into spares. Same thing with filters, etc. My oil analyses look fine. There are little things I keep an eye one -- my port side stabilizer weeped a few drops but no longer leaks. My bilges are dry and my bilge pump counters are always "0".
As far as Solas, I have two epirbs a dinghy, a well equipped ditch bag and an offshore life raft. Plus other life saving equipment including oxygen (but not enough to get back to shore), an automatic defibrillator, oftentimes a trauma surgeon (a buddy), and a surgical kit (my buddy says its good enough to deal with a wound or remove an appendix -- but if I should have a heart attack, he is not equipped to conduct a transplant from my loyal deckhand -- in fact, I am pretty sure he doesn't have anesthesia, but we always have lots of beer).

When my raft needs to be serviced, I am going to let it go out of service and buy a new one. Then half way through the service life of the new one, I will have the old one serviced. That way I will always have two rafts, one in service and the other half way out (see, I am not that risk averse).

All of that said, I am not convinced that mechanical failures do not happen randomly. I do understand that if the device were to be disassembled and inspected immediately before the failure the failure could be predicted with a high degree of certainty. And I understand that, short of disassembly, inspection and related attention will reveal a high percentage of the problems that disassembly would reveal, but my belief is that there is lots of stuff going on that can't be seen with only superficial attention -- that's the stuff I worry about. (Above, the comment was made that my propensity to worry about these remote probabilities may be a personality characteristic, and I acknowledged that may be the case -- and happily so since , on an intellectual level, I believe my concerns are exaggerated I can happily ignore them. And that is the root of my problem -- I do not yet intellectually recognize that there is no cause for concern. In fact, I cannot quantify how much cause for concern there is.)

I hope I am not giving anyone the impression that I am paralyzed with fear. I still use my boat for the biggest adventure my schedule permits, without hesitation. I just think I miss a little fun by being undully concerned about mechanical failures. (Ironically, I am not concerned about operator error, which is probably the more likely fault.)
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:47 AM   #73
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Perhaps I am the Pollyanna here, but I seldom worry about failure of any of our systems on the boat. Of course, I am a bit anal about routine and preventive maintenance, but that is generally the extent of my worry. Like Richard, I feel I know my boat well and through sight, sound and smell have a good feel for how it is running. When it comes to mission critical systems, what are they? When it comes to boats, there are really only two absolutely mission critical systems to me-(1) does it still float? and (2) does it still move? i.e. propulsion. When you get to the basics, everything else, whether for convenience or safety, is fluff. On floating, how many boats really sink? Given the number of boats on the water, anecdotal evidence tells me that an amazingly small number of boats sink. And in the size range of MYT's boat, an infinitesimal number sink. As to propulsion, most here have diesel engines. That alone should be comforting. Most newer diesel have expected lives before a major overhaul is needed of 10-15,000 hours. Our JDs are 12-15,000 hours. Stop and think about that. If your average driving speed is 35 MPH, a decent average if you live in or near a city, 12,000 hours is equivalent 420,000 miles on a car. Is there anyone here who has put 400,000+ miles on a car? The issues that cause a diesel to stop running are fairly limited, generally to do you have good fuel and do you have air. Most diesel issues can be fairly easily resolved. Some here have compared boats to cars. To me there is no comparison. How many of us here have very highly functioning boats that are 20, 30 even 40 years old. And they are very nearly the equal of any boat built today. Can that be aid about any car?

MYT-relax and enjoy the boat!
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:20 AM   #74
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To put it in a nutshell!

For answer to OP's thread title and question: "How Reliable is your boat?"

My boat is as reliable as me. And, I am very reliable. It is up to me to be in control of all aspects of my boat, in my boat, and on my boat. Similar to me being in control of all aspects of myself.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:31 AM   #75
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Had a couple of months Spanish lessons in seventh grade (55 years ago), so I'm comfortable pronouncing taco, burrito, and guacalome. As well as Martinez and Pacheco.
Don't forget margarita, cervesa and bano. I've been going to Mexico on weekend trips for 35 years and I haven't learned much more than that. I do know the words to some Mexican songs, but I don't know what the words mean.
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:48 AM   #76
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To put it in a nutshell!

For answer to OP's thread title and question: "How Reliable is your boat?"

My boat is as reliable as me. And, I am very reliable. It is up to me to be in control of all aspects of my boat, in my boat, and on my boat. Similar to me being in control of all aspects of myself.
Well said.

Traveler, give yourself some credit and also give yourself a break.

You are certainly better equipped than I am.

Yes, I did have a plan B. As simple or stupid, as it sounds, had my engine stopped miles and miles from nowhere, I knew I was in the North Atlantic, therefore the winds would push me east and I'd eventually land somewhere, or get close enough that some body works be willing to tow me to port for a reasonable $$ sum. Thus, the tons of food on-board.
Would I have been miserable?, certainly. Would I have died? Probably not.

As others here have pointed out, one can never be totally prepared. Something could always happen outside the framework of fixable, BUT for me, I do not focus on the things I can NOT fix. There is simply NO point to do so.

Being in the NYC school system, there are injustices and kids get screwed by the system all the time. But I could only concentrate on those systems that I had control of. So I tried my best to do what I could do and not worry about what I couldn't do.

If you see my blog, I rant and rave about all sorts of injustices. That's my way of dealing with this things I have no control over. So when I'm obsessing about whatever, I write about it, and then move on. Because to stress over things you can't control will kill you faster than the sea ever could.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:43 AM   #77
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Lastly, to get over your irrational fear of things failing randomly, think how our world would be different if that was truly the case.

Our world would probably look like Westeros. Yes, from the Game of Thrones. No technology, so thousands of years of no progress or advancement of our civilization.

Our Electro/mechanical world is only possible because components don't fail randomly.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:29 AM   #78
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Even if things fail randomly and completely, that's why you have backup.
The number one rule for twin engine boats is to never draw fuel from the same tank though the same filters that was filled from the same source.

We have gotten pretty lazy here in the US.....but that one thing increases the chance of a dual shutdown probably more than anything.

Every system onboard can have redundancy....even multiple if that kind of system is prone to unfixable problems at sea.

After that...like Richard said...a good boat and skipper can remain for months at sea drifting. Many a boat has floated a long time after being abandoned.....probably as many as that has sunk quickly and killed part or all of her crew.

But first things first...engines propel, systems keep a drifting boat afloat and habitable, survival systems keep you alive. Ensure redundancy and relax to a controlled concern. If you can't after that, going to sea on their own boat isn't for everyone.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:14 AM   #79
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Boaters need to study Chaos Theory.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:28 AM   #80
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I think the captain needs to understand the chaos theory and prepare the vessel for the possible outcomes....

The engineer needs to totally disbelieve it and set up a system that defeats it.

For those of us that work on and cruise our boats....mind altering drugs may be the only solution to apparent sanity.
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