Racing capsizes, did satellite beacons help?

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

9 Responses

  1. Jeffrey says:

    I am planning some off shore races with my 12 meter sailboat and just ordered the ACR ResQLink model PLB. Our older now out of date boat mounted 406 EPIRB will be repalced by this PLB. Low price, small size and ACR dependability is what made my mind up.

  2. Reed Erskine says:

    Incredibly absorbing stories with those good links and the dramatic videos. Wow, US weather has gotten positively vicious in the last couple of decades. The weather off the British isles has always been tough, and we nearly lost a Dutch friend as he had to abandon a Swedish yacht “Andriette” 75 miles south of the Scilly Isles during a long delivery from St. Lucia to Malmo, Sweden.
    Apparently the Andriette was salvaged and the delivery resumed after repairs. Another case of an Epirb saving the bacon.
    Reed s/v Cayenne lying Cascais, Portugal

  3. Roger B says:

    I understand that all yachts participating in this year’s Fastnet were mandated to carry on-board GPS tracking devices.
    Race control should have known the exact positions of the yachts at all times.
    FYI – In the UK marine rescues are handled by Coastguard MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres) who will determine what rescue assets are required and may call on RAF, Royal Navy, Search & Rescue helicopters and RNLI resources from Ireland, UK or continental Europe if necessary.
    Under-funded but greatly respected.

  4. steverow says:

    The Fastnet has always been a very “iffy” event. Sometimes the luck runs out, as the Celtic Sea can be very unforgiving. Doing the hop from Wales to Ireland is something I take very seriously always and only in the right condx, which makes it a rare event.
    Obviously many thanks are due to the ICG guys at Valentia, and also to Shux and crew at Falmouth IMRCC.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Roger, The Fastnet fleet used Yellowbrick trackers, but I don’t know what the track interval was or whether the system had a way to quickly flag vessels that stopped communicating. Here is a tracking site that let’s you replay the race, though it seems that Rambler’s track has been removed:
    Note that Yellowbrick has a new tracker coming out very soon:

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Wow! If you set the Fastnet tracking site to about 1800 last Monday — when Rambler and the other lead monohulls were just rounding the Rock — note that the 140-foot tri Maxi Banque Populaire was already almost finished back in Portsmouth, which took an astounding 7 hours plus off the previous record. I’m picturing some proud French sailors:

  7. dave says:

    The rescue was co-ordinated from Valentia MRCC in Ireland And several RNLI lifeboats from nearby stations and both the Shannon and Cork based rescue Helicopters and an Irish Naval vessel were involved.
    That particular corner of Ireland has significant rescue assets and is within 20 minutes flying time of two choppers and close to several lifeboat stations.
    It’s also not far from land ad wrll

  8. Anonymous says:

    Several competitors sailed by but did not see the stricken Rambler 100.!!
    Forget the PLB’s, which have their place, but the boats sailing past would have seen personal strobe-lights, if the survivors’ lifejackets had them fitted.
    Divers use personal strobes. They are low tech and cheap, costing less than €30
    When you are awaiting rescue, attracting attention to your precise position is essential.
    When the rescue services are alerted to your position, they still have to find you as a blob in the water and current and gps inaccuracy +/- 15 meters will have made your position different to the EPIRB transmitted position. The longer it takes for the rescue service to arrive, along with tidal stream will have made the search position different, as exemplified in the comments of the navigator of “Rambler 100” who said that they could see the RNLI lifeboat arriving at a position several hundred yards from where he was. How many of the rescued had effective lights! An uninflated lifejacket does not show a light. A personal strobe can be manually activated.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Apparently they did have strobe lights:
    Though I’ve also read that they were LED flashlights used for trimming which the crew on the overturned hull grouped together for maximum effectiveness. It may be a while before all the details are clearly sorted.

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