Forums > Sailing General

Tragedy off Newcastle Today

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Created by Bananabender A week ago, 11 Jul 2019
GKandCC
NSW, 172 posts
11 Jul 2019 1:32PM
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Perhaps a good time to read Zzzzzz's post a day ago re: Sir Peter Blake's warnings about sailing in very heavy weather, and the preparations needed for such times. Numerous other contributors warn that the Tasman Sea and various other waters around the Australian coast can be just as dangerous as any on the planet. Among the quotes mentioned is this humblingly concise one from Hilaire Belloc "The sea drives truth into a man, like salt"

Yara
NSW, 850 posts
11 Jul 2019 1:55PM
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We do not know the background, but to me it sounds like another instance of planning on a fixed calendar, and not the weather. School holidays etc. Strong winds were forecast.
We need the Roads and Maritime to use some of the loads of money they get from us to run a campaign, not just on lifejackets, but to push the idea that the weather must override all schedules.

Shanty
QLD, 407 posts
11 Jul 2019 2:05PM
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This is an incredibly saddening incident. My heart goes out to these people and there family's. a couple questions if I may.

1. Why would you be out there in those conditions? There seems to be adequate warning. With a strong wind warning. Maybe as mentioned above by Yara that it was a fixed calendar arrangement.

2. What happen. Why did the boat go arse-over-tit? Maybe going downwind and dug the bows in (have heard some cats have a habit of doing this) ? Maybe a massive gust of wind hit the boat at the wrong time? Took and awkward wave of the stern as filled the cabin ( this should have been closed)?

Hopefully the survivors could shed some light on this incident.

Kind Regards,
Mick

boty
QLD, 500 posts
11 Jul 2019 2:27PM
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sounds terrible and but 30 knots is not a lot of breeze there must have been other circumstances involved further any boat going offshore should be prepared to cop a least 45 knots as you are never 100% confident of the forecast and if arouge squall or thunderstorm pops up that's what you will get

lydia
881 posts
11 Jul 2019 12:35PM
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Observations at Nobby's at 1000hrs is only in the low 30s and max of 37
Nothing to severe.

surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 1:01PM
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boty said..
sounds terrible and but 30 knots is not a lot of breeze there must have been other circumstances involved further any boat going offshore should be prepared to cop a least 45 knots as you are never 100% confident of the forecast and if arouge squall or thunderstorm pops up that's what you will get




Yes. Wind died this morning. They might have been fooled into flying too much sail. As per Seabreeze Newcastle the wind picks up dramatically around 10 am. Nothing at all to moderate the initial gusts down the Hunter Valley into Stockton Bight. Always pays to be prudent?

Really worries me also that it might have been a narrcistic idiot I know from Newcastle who fits the profile. Anyways, it's a tragedy.

I am sure there will be some worth while findings at the inquest?

Shanty
QLD, 407 posts
11 Jul 2019 3:02PM
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lydia said..
Observations at Nobby's at 1000hrs is only in the low 30s and max of 37
Nothing to severe.


The only thing I can think of is maybe sails got jammed? Overpowering the boat surfing uncontrollably at 12-15 knots then dig the bows under? But I don't know. Anything you sailors can think of?

shaggybaxter
QLD, 1671 posts
11 Jul 2019 3:07PM
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Those little daggerboards wouldn't be too bad in fresh winds, the negative being of course more leeward drfit, but preferable to tripping over your boards.
Poor poor bastards.

lydia
881 posts
11 Jul 2019 1:10PM
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Looks like a Fusion 40

lydia
881 posts
11 Jul 2019 1:12PM
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ABC news heading south not north

surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 1:50PM
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lydia said..
ABC news heading south not north



Yes,

"The catamaran had left Shoal Bay this morning and was heading south towards Ettalong when it overturned."

Fifth sailing death on Stockton Bight in the last few years. Old guys - one from the Hunter who I had previously met - both ended up washing ashore up the Bight Dead. Boat sank in southerly conditions as they were heading North.

Sectorsteve
NSW, 2125 posts
11 Jul 2019 4:08PM
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They didn't read the dashew books... Those westerlies near port Stephens are gnarly as.
Once again. Forecasted.
Why do it. Why?
Too much sail I reckon.
It's so windy with westerlies where I live inland I've taken the day off work. I don't wanna even be outside.

lydia
881 posts
11 Jul 2019 2:24PM
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Hang on, only a strong wind warning and observations bear that out.
Sea state has not picked up yet.

Sectorsteve
NSW, 2125 posts
11 Jul 2019 4:29PM
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lydia said..
Hang on, only a strong wind warning and observations bear that out.
Sea state has not picked up yet.


True. Maybe Couldn't handle his boat?
Too much sail. Furler maY have jammed?
Either way the boat was overpowered and flipped killing 3 people.
Tragic.

crustysailor
VIC, 648 posts
11 Jul 2019 4:31PM
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some rough accusations there guys.
I typed a response up at post 2, but removed it.
This sad event has wrecked some families, and whilst there's value in learning from it, I think its hard to be in a place to make any sort of assumptions or questioning of the crews intentions.

If you really want to read, Multihull Seamanship by Gavin LeSeur would be a better place to start. Specifically how to deal with a daggerboard cat in large swells, letting them slide around, and using drogues of any sort.

Agreed, the wind strength should not have been much of an issue, but the report states there was a fair sea running.

More disconcerting from the photo is it looks like both boards were nearly fully down.

Condolances to the families, and best wishes to those rescued.

surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 2:39PM
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Not hard to understand what happened weather wise at 10.00 hours?

The rest will come out at the inquest. Hopefully some benifical recommendations.

Again, a tragedy.






surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 2:53PM
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crustysailor said..
some rough accusations there guys.......,,,,,,,,,,,
Condolences to the families, and best wishes to those rescued.



Have to say I was not making "accusations" in my OP despite my concerns it might have been someone know to me. This was a serious uneasiness founded on genuine past experiences and anxieties. Unfortunately, one of the previous yachtman to die in the Bight also turned out to be someone I had met before. In that case, someone I considered a top bloke. End of the day, this is again a real tragedy.

crustysailor
VIC, 648 posts
11 Jul 2019 4:58PM
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no problem SSA, a sad event for all.

Agreed, nothing too sinister from those graphs.
Hopefully some details will come to hand.

surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 3:13PM
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crustysailor said..
no problem SSA, a sad event for all.

Agreed, nothing too sinister from those graphs.
Hopefully some details will come to hand.










The wind backs off early morning. Maybe gave them a false sense of fair weather ahead despite the forecast gale strength winds? With the early Northly in the wind they would have had some protection from the terrain around Port Stephens. Another reason they might have had continued under full sail into the bight?

At nearly exactly 10.00 that front moves across accompanied by some nasty wind gusts. Stockton Bight is totally exposed to the wind funnelling down the Hunter. Anyone carrying too much canvas in those gust could have gotten themselves in trouble?

Does go back to the seamanship rule of taking down any extra sail BEFORE you get into trouble? Regardless, they could have been lulled into complacency by the early consistent light winds before being instantaneously knocked down by that front?

I am not being judgemental. This is an objective opinion based on the actual weather circumstances. Where I was further down the coast at anchor the wind also abbated early morning with the odd random gust. I know when I was sailing south last I got hit out of the blue by some similar fronts that only appeared on the updates. Luckily I have a stiff mono with a ketch rig that was reefed down.


southace
QLD, 4058 posts
11 Jul 2019 5:16PM
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Westerly with a onshore reading off 30knots and a 2 meter SE swell would have been crap in a overpowered cat with short waterline length and daggerboards down.
R.i.P to those who lost there lives.

surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 3:43PM
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Datawiz said..
NW winds, SE swell, heading South in EAC? - just wondering....
Edit: just seen the CH9 map showing location 13km offshore - now I'm confused, because current news reports are saying 25km offshore



Probably meant to read "25 East of Newcastle"? Still leaves the closet shoreline Stockton Beach at 13 km?

While I have long forgotten High School trigonometry, that sounds about right?

lydia
881 posts
11 Jul 2019 4:02PM
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My spies say it was a Spirited 380.

surfershaneA
816 posts
11 Jul 2019 4:16PM
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southace said..
Westerly with a onshore reading off 30knots and a 2 meter SE swell would have been crap in a overpowered cat with short waterline length and daggerboards down.
R.i.P to those who lost there lives.


The other thing to consider is fate had them dead center of the Hunter Valley to Stockton Bight wind tunnel when the front and gust hit (See diagram).

Couple hours earlier or delayed departure may have had them in a safe position?




MorningBird
NSW, 2171 posts
11 Jul 2019 6:41PM
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I've been across Stockton Bight a couple of times in strong westerlies. As noted above a nor nor wester funnels down the Hunter Valley with a venturi effect. 20 kts at Port Stephens, 30-35 in the Bight.
Heading south, say 200degT, the boat would have been really flying with any sail up. Morning Bird would have been in her element.
I don't sail a cat so don't know what happened here in those conditions.

Jode5
QLD, 730 posts
11 Jul 2019 6:56PM
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This is not the first Spirited 380 to go over, there have been several. Google 'Spirited 380 capsize '

shaggybaxter
QLD, 1671 posts
11 Jul 2019 7:08PM
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Jode5 said..
This is not the first Spirited 380 to go over, there have been several. Google 'Spirited 380 capsize '



Wow, the Spirited runs 95 m2 sail area on a 40' cat, that's my sailplan without the couple of ton well underwater.
You'd want to be reefing early.

southace
QLD, 4058 posts
11 Jul 2019 7:09PM
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I went for a sail last week on a 11 meter cat, was a beam reach 15 to 20 knot white caps off the shore conditions reefed and 30 degrees temps but I tried to picture being in 2 meter swells in the same conditions and my thoughts told me I would want to be heading for the shoreline. It's too early to judge
but from what I can see they rather pitch poled or capsized both scenarios would have caused total dismay and obviously loss of lives.

Shanty
QLD, 407 posts
11 Jul 2019 7:28PM
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Well the only people that truely know what happened are the two still alive. It will probably be on a Current Affair episode in a few months. Just like the "Diane" trawler that sank off 1770.

southace
QLD, 4058 posts
11 Jul 2019 7:39PM
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Shanty said..
Well the only people that truely know what happened are the two still alive. It will probably be on a Current Affair episode in a few months. Just like the "Diane" trawler that sank off 1770.


Was the trawler Diane on current affair ? 1770 that's a long time ago, mate

Shanty
QLD, 407 posts
11 Jul 2019 7:44PM
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southace said..

Shanty said..
Well the only people that truely know what happened are the two still alive. It will probably be on a Current Affair episode in a few months. Just like the "Diane" trawler that sank off 1770.



Was the trawler Diane on current affair ? 1770 that's a long time ago, mate


Can't remember if it was "Current Affair" or "Today Tonight" one of the two. 1770 is a town (and a rather nice one at that) just north of Agnes water.






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"Tragedy off Newcastle Today" started by Bananabender