Offshore Tug Bourbon Rhode in Distress After Getting Caught in Hurricane Lorenzo

Depending on vessel design it may be safer, but easy? Have you tried running away from it when wavelength approaches LWL?

Some boats handle it OK, but mostly the tiny, nimble ones. One night I’ll never forget I ran a 100 footer ahead of a 7m chop. We were in constant danger of broaching, and I ran the steering gear so hard I was afraid of overheating the fluid. Easy is not a word that comes to mind, ask a small craft guy.

Some boats definitely feel safer when pointed downwind, especially the ones that have more freeboard aft. I was going to mention it earlier, but my heavy weather experience doesn’t extend beyond the North Atlantic on a properly fucked up day (which is awesome in the most literal sense), and I understand that we’re talking about a different beast here.

As for the Bourbon Rhode, I suspect she would benefit from having that mighty stout bow pointed into the fury of it.

EDIT: It just dawned on me that you might have been referring to running away from as in “escaping” rather than running with the weather…

You just have to enough time to run away. If you wait to long it’s tough to run.

Yeah… you’re blaming the wrong people on that one. The fuel tank vents were originally down on the freeboard deck (like on all GOM anchor handlers and OSV’s) on an anchor handler with a very wet deck to begin with. I’ve worked with 99% of the crew that was on there during that “incident” and I can assure you that “checking the vents regularly” was not the point of failure on that one…

YouTube Aiviq Video

To be clear I do not recommend that a ship be steered into the eye wall of a hurricane and the engine shut down.

Hurricanes should be avoided, not controversial in my view.

This is my point:

I think that statements or assumptions about loss of propulsion in heavy weather need to be qualified a bit more than they typically are, especially in a TRS.

Families of missing Croatian and Ukrainian crew members are still hopeful and raising funds to continue search:

Bourbon update today (Saturday) - nothing new…

Agree. The USCG did a investigation on the Aviq. It was not complementary. The problems went beyond check valves in vents.

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Following from my earlier musing on investigations, I note that still there has been no announcement (that I can find, at least) from:-
USCG as Navarea IV coordinator, nor
CAM/Luxembourg as Flag state, nor
BEA-Mer/France as IMO SAR Regoin coordinator and country of (beneficial) ownership.
However BEA-Mer has already announced, within 24hrs, its enquiry into the Rhodanos grounding in Corsica.

Just stumbled across this, dated 08 Nov…
"…Technical investigations are starting and we are working with all stakeholders to understand the facts and circumstances of this tragedy. Analysis and verification of these facts will take time… "
See -

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I took basically the same route in December 2016. November was the first month highest it was considered safe for small boats.
I was surprised how bad the weather was, with rain showers, heavy grey clouds and squally winds almost every day.
Seas were also much rougher than expected with 3 well defined swells from NE, E, SE.
This made for confused seas and big corkscrew pitch and roll about every 8 minutes for three weeks.
Every time I am sitting safely in port I wonder why i did not test some of my survival tactics. In large part because when conditions are bad enough to consider it, if the boat is handling it ok, I don’t want to mess with what I have.
I still wonder though.

On this same trip, I did something stupid which did necessitate lying a hull for 20 minutes while i replaced my rudder hydraulic hose.
My Kadey Krogen just bobs in those circumstances (10 to 20 ft seas)

Just curious, what do you mean by that?

Sorry, I was responding to Damn Yankees comment:
" The question for me is how do you test this? I’ll try any number of headings and speeds in heavy seas to find one that eases the ship best, but stopping the engine to try this method could just as easily put the ship into a catastrophic roll that shears cargo off the deck. I’m familiar with the method I just don’t think I’d have the stones to try it for the first time unless forced to do so by losing the plant.

I’m going to stick with thoroughly watching the weather and staying as far as possible from danger."

I see, missed that. Hard to predict how a ship and also a yacht, will behave with no engine power. It depends on a number of factors such as hull design for instance L/B ratio, stability under present loading conditions --> GM, deck cargo, sail of the superstructure and of course the wind, wave and swell conditions. I suppose that most well balanced ships could ride it out, like a seagull sitting on the water as we say.

I like that, like a seagull on the water.
I also got caught in a big storm SSW of Ireland in 2014.

Had to stop to retrieve a bent paravane pole. Took me 40 minutes in 15 to 20 ft seas on my beam. Boat just bobbed and rolls less than when underway.

Never had green water over the cap rails.

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Many years ago an oceanographic ship I sailed in sat like a seagull when stopped but she did have flume tanks.

Another thread here: Heavy Weather Tactics - was originally split off this one.

“My guess is they just sailed into the system unawares.”

I’ve been a Master onboard the Bourbon Arethuse way back 2008… We had a SAT-C/ Navtex for weather monitoring. I’m sure the Master is aware of the weather. Commercial pressure is a possible contributing factor in the Master’s decision to sail through the storm.

Commercial pressure is a real thing. As I got older, it was easier to ignore

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With a route mid-ocean avoiding the tropical cyclone is going to take less time than a route which passes through the system. Most likely a small vessel like the Bourbon Rhode will be forced to hove-to in the sea conditions found in a tropical cyclone and a great deal of time will be lost.

The other factor is that an attempt to transit through a tropical cyclone is an unacceptable risk.

Any mariner that does not understand this is not fit to sail master.

Standard practice is to do everything possible to avoid getting caught in the tropical storm force wind field, for what should be obvious reasons.


Yeah, you’re right…