Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:46 PM   #1
Dauntless Award
 
Wxx3's Avatar
 
City: New York, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dauntless
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 - 148
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,313
Learning from the Avalon Tragedy

It's terrible that someone had to lose their life, hopefully we'll all learn from it.

It illustrates my point that I've made here many times. Don't bet your life on a weather forecast.

Have a plan and always be prepared for the worst possible weather. You and your guests may not be comfortable, but no one ever died from being uncomfortable.
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Blog: https://dauntlessatsea.com
Find us: https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Wxx3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 01:58 PM   #2
TF Site Team
 
ksanders's Avatar
 
City: SEWARD ALASKA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: LISAS WAY
Vessel Model: BAYLINER 4788
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,956
ok, learning...

In hindsight, not taking into account any information that was not available prior to the tragedy, what could the nice folks have done.

They were moored
Weather forecast 5-10 knots

The only thing I can think of is not to use partially exposed anchorages or mooring fields like that one. But on the flip side that is a very popular place, and it sounds like for good reason.
__________________

__________________
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
www.mvlisasway.com
ksanders is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 02:15 PM   #3
Dauntless Award
 
Wxx3's Avatar
 
City: New York, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dauntless
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 - 148
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,313
Yes.

But when you anchor or moor, don't you think about what happens if...

The wind picks up from this direction?
If the swell increases?
Etc.

Three times I've been anchored and the winds picked up to 40 knots and I was only 200' feet from shore.

Twice, I didn't feel comfortable leaving so I sat in the helm chair and the engine running in neutral. Both times didn't need it.

The third time, I set a second anchor, which didn't seem to help. I was stupid that the winds had been steady and I am anchored upwind of the shore.

I had three guests on board. By 22:00 Even with the second anchor, I realized we were moving one foot a minute.

I had already repositioned twice in the previous two hours.

So I paid for my stupidity by hauling anchor and threading my way along the narrow, shallow channel for an hour until I got to the sea at 23:00.

So as my guests slept and the moon rose, I motored 12 hours east to get back to the exumas.

At 11 the next morning, we were in a beautiful anchorage, guests were happy and I took a nap.
__________________
M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Blog: https://dauntlessatsea.com
Find us: https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Wxx3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 02:15 PM   #4
Guru
 
Northern Spy's Avatar
 
City: Powell River, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Northern Spy
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 26
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,668
Based on the article I read from the other thread, my concern was the author kept repeating the other boats were "trying to start their engine" as they were dragging. I'd like to think if I was in a similar situation, I would have already been prepared or have it running, although my little engine in my little boat doesn't take a lot if preparation to get going.

I think the author did very well in his own preparation.
Northern Spy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 02:27 PM   #5
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,913
I'm allergic to open, large expanse of water anchorages.

As someone else pointed out recently....usually wind is not the problem...it is surge /wave action.

It hampers everything where working in wind is a challenge....but nothing like trying to hold on and trying to do something....even surviving in the water in rough conditions is bad.

Unless I have a pretty bulletproof forecast, more than temporary anchoring and or the ability to get underway safely, keeps me in the most protected spots I can find.

True it may limit some of my cruising....but I had enough excitement in my youth to beat even remote danger, financial loss, or even aggravation out of me.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 03:41 PM   #6
Dauntless Award
 
Wxx3's Avatar
 
City: New York, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dauntless
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 - 148
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,313
The other thing that struck me when reading of that incident is the whole mooring field thing.

Many ASSUME because this mooring float is attached to something they CAN'T SEE, they think it's suitable.

My readings indicate that mute often then not, you may be attaching your boat to nothing more than a ten year old 1/2" line, a rusty shackle and a 100 lb concrete block.

Works great under most conditions.
__________________
M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Blog: https://dauntlessatsea.com
Find us: https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Wxx3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 04:26 PM   #7
Guru
 
MYTraveler's Avatar
 
City: West Coast
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 852
We spend a few nights at Avalon every year, and this tragedy won't stop us from continuing. In years past, the Avalon harbor patrol has been very proactive in warning boaters of impending Santa Ana wind conditions. I don't know when warnings were given this year, but the harbor patrol did move the dinghy dock before it got real bad. If I were on my boat at that time, I would have left the harbor, either heading back to the mainland or to the backside (lee under those conditions) and over to Cat Harbor (a very well protected anchorage). Since Avalon is at the east end of the island, one does not have to travel far to get to protected waters. But if I were not able to leave in time, I would have gone ashore before it got so bad that I could not.

I also would have dropped my anchor and 400 feet of chain. That way, even if I broke free of the mooring, , but I don't think my anchor would drag all the way to the beach, although major damage would still be expected.
MYTraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 07:51 PM   #8
TF Site Team
 
ksanders's Avatar
 
City: SEWARD ALASKA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: LISAS WAY
Vessel Model: BAYLINER 4788
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,956
Now we have something.

Even though the forecast was for 5-10 knot winds...

The harbor master moved the dingy dock

The person writing the article moved his family ashore.
__________________
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
www.mvlisasway.com
ksanders is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 08:19 PM   #9
Guru
 
Scary's Avatar
 
City: Walnut Grove Ca
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Cary'D Away
Vessel Model: Hatteras 48 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 884
This isn't the first time

Avalon has a history of disasters just like this one. There used to photographs on the dock of past disasters in the harbor. Cruising guides of the channel Islands all warn of Santa Anna conditions and early warning signs, like surge building in the harbor. The weather reports we received in Northern California two days earlier called out for an extreme high pressure over Eastern Oregon and Nevada extending into Arizona. High winds were predicted in the Sierras. I don't know what local forecasts were but if they didn't indicate a change someone blew it. I think there is a mentality today of relying on authorities to keep you out of trouble, at least here in California. If they aren't moving you out then it must be OK to stay. Catalina is a real cool place to be, and hard to find moorings much of the year, so if you got one I can understand the loathing to give it up. I suspect that there was a strong desire not to lose a weekend by most of the boats in the harbor and possibly a desire to give the town and it's guest what they wanted by the harbor patrol. If your a boater from a area without the support systems available in Southern California your probably going to look at the responsibility of your boat and person differently than someone used to be taken care of by society. There really aren't that many places to really screw up with a boat in Southern California compared with BC or Alaska. Not that you can't do it but help generally is right there at hand. If I had been in the harbor and things started deteriorate I would have got out and moved to the east side in the lee of the island. It just not that far around the corner. I got my lesson at Santa Cruz Island 20 years or so ago when I spent a night in a cove with a lee shore New years week in these kind of conditions. I had two anchors set in sand and didn't want to move out in the dark when the harbor got surgy. By 12pm you could not stand in the boat, we were in breakers, white foam, I spent the night with engine running taking ranges on the rocks on each side of the cove. At first light I was able to pull both anchors and get out. Ears pinned back we made the crossing in 18' swells with wind chop to Channel Island harbor where we surfed into the harbor. You will never find me anchored over night in an exposed harbor or on a lee shore again. In the case of Avalon this year I think there was some complacency involved , memories were a little short. This wasn't the first time nor even the second, my guess is it will happen again.
Scary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 08:19 PM   #10
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
Yes.

But when you anchor or moor, don't you think about what happens if...The wind picks up from this direction? If the swell increases? Etc.
This is an outstanding point that many people--- including my wife and I--- have to learn the hard way. I've related the story of our incident in the past in other threads so I'm not going to do it again here.

But suffice it to say that today, as a result of our almost losing the boat to a forecast that was six hours too late, we now do exactly what Wxx3 states. We have questions we ask every time we anchor or moor or even end up at a dock we aren't all that familiar with and they all start with "What if........?"

And then we answer each question with a step by step plan. Sometimes several plans. Then we write them down, and then we tape the paper to the steering cable chase in front of the wheel at the helm station.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 08:45 PM   #11
Guru
 
City: Hotel, CA
Country: Fried
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 8,328
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Even though the forecast was for 5-10 knot winds...



The harbor master moved the dingy dock



The person writing the article moved his family ashore.

Exactly...

If the above is true, and it is, someone was asleep at the wheel. Both the Harbor Patrol and author of the first hand account appeared to have ample time to pre plan.

Scary pretty well sums up the rest. Predicting Santa Ana winds and their effects is not exactly rocket science. Yes "stuff happens" but in this case it sure seems as though a lot of stuff happened that really makes you scratch your head.

Now what information led to the call to move the dinghy dock and the author to move his family ashore?
__________________
Craig

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they've been fooled - Mark Twain
CPseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 11:21 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Larry H's Avatar
 
City: Pacific Northwest
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Jacari Maru
Vessel Model: 2014 Ranger Tug R-27
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 359
Santa Ana, or Santana winds are a normal part of So Cal weather, happening in the fall, winter, and spring. The usual advise is that if you are anchored or moored on the East side of Catalina, leave immediately or get off the boat when: The decks are dry (no dew). ANY swell or waves (even 6 inches) come from the east. The forecast has ANY NE or E winds. Another indicator is the smog being blown out to sea from the mainland.

The high pressure in the desert flows over the mountains NE of LA, accelerates downhill to the LA basin, and continues over the ocean to Catalina at up to 45 to 60 knots. I have been on a mooring at the isthmus (Two Harbors) where we returned to our boat at 7PM to a gentle breeze from the NE. One hour later the waves were 2+feet and rising. We left ASAP and headed back to LA. Fought 30 knot winds, with closely spaced large wind waves. Eventually got back to the LA harbor. There was still the wind, but the land blocked the wave formation. For sure, if the harbor patrol is pulling the floating landing and dingy docks, GET OUT! For those who have never been to Catalina, it is like a 20 mile long rock ridge sticking up out of the ocean. The only safe harbor is Cat Harbor on the West side of the island. And even that harbor has had 60+knot winds and swells large enough to put boats and the mooring grid on the beach. Because it's the only place away from LA to go, Catalina is very popular, but can be very dangerous.
__________________
Larry H
Cruising the Pacific Northwest
Larry H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2015, 11:31 PM   #13
Guru
 
Capt.Bill11's Avatar
 
City: Sarasota/Ft. Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 5,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPseudonym View Post

Now what information led to the call to move the dinghy dock and the author to move his family ashore?
It's all pretty clearly spelled out in the article.


"However, this time the weather forecast was such that there was no advisory to seek alternative shelter."

"Since the forecast was for mild winds, we were really only talking about comfort, not survival. However, we decided that it would be best for Tamara and the kids to move to a hotel in town so they could get a good night’s rest."

"While walking back I noticed a cold wind was up, more than the 5 to 15 knots forecast, and the seas were already rough. The ramps to the dinghy docks had been hoisted and the dinghy docks – with my dinghy still attached, were about be towed from the Green Pier to a safer place in the harbor. I recognized Brian Bray, the harbor master we have interacted with for many years, as leading the operation. I said, “Hello” to him and he turned to me, looking rather frantic, and said, “This wind just came up in the last twenty minutes!” From his expression I inferred he was surprised by the intensity of the wind.”
Capt.Bill11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2015, 12:19 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Tunajoe's Avatar
 
City: Ventura
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Tatanka
Vessel Model: 32' Nordic Tug
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 216
When we went to Catalina for Thanksgiving, at Two Harbors, they had us reverse moor. That is, bow pointed towards the mainland. Usually, your bow is pointed towards Cat Harbor.
I was told it was in case of Santa Ana's.

I plan on spending lots of time at Catalina on my new boat so I've given thought to what I would do if that occurred while there.
A fellow that works on Catalina suggested the following:

1. Always secure the bow hawser to a cleat, not the windlass.
Cleats are usually more secure, though not bulletproof.
2.If the going gets nasty, start up your engine(s), just in case you need to get out in a hurry.
3.Maybe construct a snubber bridle, with chafing gear, and keep it near your anchor locker. This may help reduce the shock load on the lines.
4.Keep the extra length of sand line on board your vessel, making it less likely to foul your props.
5. Don safety gear at first sign of nasty conditions.
Tunajoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2015, 01:44 AM   #15
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tunajoe View Post
3.Maybe construct a snubber bridle, with chafing gear, and keep it near your anchor locker. This may help reduce the shock load on the lines.
.
I'm not familiar with the mooring setup at Catalina, but if the mooring lines used are nylon, a snubber's not going to accomplish anything since the mooring lines themselves will do the shock absorbing. Snubbers are used with chain rode, either all-chain or enough chain that in typical anchoring depths the chain is what's going through the windlass and over the bow roller.

Quote:
1. Always secure the bow hawser to a cleat, not the windlass.
Cleats are usually more secure, though not bulletproof.
I don't think it's ever a good idea to submit the windlass to the pull of the boat against the anchor under any conditions, not just on windy days or nights at Catalina. The issue is not so much the security of the windlass in terms of the fasteners holding it in place, although that's certainly something to consider, but the potential for damage to the interal components of the windlass--- gear teeth and whatnot.

For this reason we don't even set our anchor against the windlass despite the fact we have a pretty tough one (Lofrans Tigres). We made up a stout line about six feet long with a thimble spliced into one end to which we've shacked a chain hook. This is our "setting" line, and when the anchor is deployed with the amount of rode out that we want we clip the chain hook to the rode and run the bitter end of the line through a bow hawse to one of the two heavily backed foredeck cleats. We then back off on the windlass to put a bit of slack between it and the chain hook, and set the anchor against the cleated line.

We also secure our V-bridle snubber to the two bow cleats and then let a long loop of chain out to hang down underwater between the bow roller and the snubber's chain grab, which is also underwater. So the windlass never sees anything but the weight of the anchor going out or coming up.

If it appears that we're going to need to break out the anchor with the boat, we again use our heavy "setting" line to take the strain in the same manner we used it to set the anchor. Once the boat is directly over the anchor we attach the "setting" line in the manner described, back off on the windlass a bit, and then break the anchor out against the line with a shot of reverse with one or both props.
__________________

Marin is offline   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 10:36 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