Här är en story om hur en Class 40, Axa Atout Couer, slog runt under ett räjält oväder, och en del viktiga slutsatser man kan dra av det.
Tipstack till Joe Cooper.
This is the account, translated from its original French by Timo Tavio a yacht broker and manger based in Georgia of three sailors delivering a Class 40 yacht back to France from Mexico after a Transatlantic race. He was also in attendance at a meeting featuring a de-briefing by the skipper of the boat. On Dec 10 the yacht with a three man crew was rolled and dismasted off Bermuda. Rarely does such an incident leave any survivors let alone any experienced enough to recount the tale with the clarity and cool that is presented here.
Read it and take good notes.
- Make sure your delivery skipper knows the boat, and knows how to handle such situations.
- If you expect bad weather, get in contact with a shore side party, let them know your plans and coordinate for exigent circumstances.
- Make sure the rescue authorities have all your most recent numbers, and at least one of those contact numbers be for someone who is not going to be on the boat and also someone who knows your float plan.
- Any knife you have located near to your life raft to cut lashings needs to be located with the idea that you will be in the water at the transom. Ideally, it should be low on the stanchion, reachable by you in the water.
- The raft should be easily accessible from in the water and at the transom. It won’t do you any good kept below, or even on a deck location or locker that is farther forward in the cockpit.
- A water proof VHF is critically important. And it should be kept charged and kept with the ditch bag.
- Consideration should be given to locating an EPIRB at the stern; perhaps on a stanchion/a stern transom escape hatch is critical. In this case it would have allowed them to reenter the inverted boat to go get the EPIRB had the boat never righted.
- Having two forms of distress signaling was quite helpful. In this case, that was the Inmarsat Sat C as well as the EPIRB.
- A handheld Iridium, kept in a sealed bag and in the ditch bag could allow for communications when all your fixed equipment is damaged or water logged.
- Program that Iridium with emergency numbers, because when it all goes pear shaped you may not have those numbers handy.
- A hydraulic rod cutter can save you huge amounts of grief. Their hacksaw blades were not up to the task.
- Keep your passports with your ditch bag.
- Keep your flares in a water tight box of some sort. None of their flares survived the soaking they got when the boat inverted.
- If a boat is diverted to you, you have to leave when it arrives regardless of the conditions. You can’t ask them to stand by.
- If they had it to do over again, they would have coordinated their rescue request so that the boat would be diverted after conditions had abated and become safer for a transfer.
- If you end up in the water in the Atlantic in December with no hot toddy in your near term future, you want to be wearing a Gumby survival suit. Not a dry suit and most definitely not foulies. They are required for Cat 0 and are not required for Cat 1, but perhaps you should consider it if you plan on doing a Transat.
I hope this is helpful…. I know that I learned something from having heard the debrief. The seas that they were in when they got into trouble are seas I have seen, and the issues that they experienced are issues I easily could see experiencing. I am changing my own plans in response to their experience.