Recap of Events: NARC Rally, 2011
organizer of NARC has publicly accused Herb of providing bad advice to the
NARC Rally, which departed November 1st, 2011,
off, Herb had nothing to do with the NARC Rally and did not even know that an
organized Rally was to depart on that day for Bermuda.
The NARC Rally had their own weather forecasting and routing service,
providing daily updates to the fleet.
They had daily radio communication schedules amongst participating boats, for
sharing weather information.
The Rally also arranged with Bermuda's Marine Operations Centre to provide
weather information and assist yachts if necessary.
was in contact at that time with individual yachts, not part of any Rally,
commencing in late October, also planning to leave Newport,
awaiting a departure window. These were larger yachts, some with professional
skippers, most of whom Herb had contact with over many years,
heading to the Caribbean in the Fall and returning in late Spring.
October 31st, Herb recommended to his group of yachts to delay departure
beyond November 1st as a gale system would pass just East of
Newport on November 1st. Herb also stated there were indications that strong
NE winds would build on Friday south of the Gulf Stream.
November 2nd, Herb explained to his group that there was a high probability
that a storm system was forming near Cape Hatteras on Friday
November 4. It was predicted to track rapidly in a SE direction towards
29N/69W by Saturday November 5.
This was the reason for the previously predicted high NE'ly winds south of
the Gulf Stream starting early Friday.
Herb also explained that four numerical forecast models predicted that this
storm would gradually track in a W to NW direction
over the following five days. All numerical models confirmed this forecast
track in subsequent model updates until November 7.
Therefore, with these strong winds expected to gradually veer from NE to E
towards Bermuda, over the following five days, the appropriate strategy
was therefore to make a lot of easting initially, then gradually follow the
veering winds towards Bermuda.
of the yachts in Herb's group had departed Newport on November 2nd, before
the start of Herb's Net, while some decided to wait
because of Herb's warnings. One returned because of a broken gooseneck
fitting, the others followed Herb's recommendation to
head easterly and cross the Gulf Stream near 67 to 68W longitude, since they
wanted to continue.
check in time, three new boats logged in, sailing yachts: ELLE, TRIPLE STAR
They were close together and reported strong NE winds over night and asked
Herb repeated his forecast and the warning that there would be gale to storm
force conditions south of 37N beginning on Friday
and continuing past the weekend, gradually veering from NE to E to SE north
these three boats all positioned between 38:30 - 39N and 71:30W late
Wednesday, they would all approach easterly gale to storm
force conditions within 1 1/2 to 2 days, if they would head directly for
Bermuda, based on their current progress.
They asked Herb what he would recommend to avoid this.
Herb repeated the same routing as provided to the yachts in his group which
had just departed Newport, that is, stay north of 37 to 36 N,
making as much easting as possible until winds veer.
November 3rd, the National Weather Service's High Seas Forecast confirmed the
development of the gale near Beaufort, NC on
November 4th, tracking SE and issued gale to storm force warnings in the
northern quadrant into Sunday the 6th of November.
Herb's group of yachts as well as BOONATSA and TRIPLE STAR followed Herb's
recommended track, while S/Y ELLE maintained
a more SE'ly track for which Herb expressed his concern.
November 5th, Herbs group of boats, including BOONATSA were making good
progress East of 64W in a more SE'ly direction
as the wind started to veer and after continuing towards 63W they headed for
Bermuda and/or bypassed Bermuda to the East.
ELLE at 34:24N/66:12W in 35 to 40 knots regretted that they did not stay
north of 36N as recommended.
Over night, into morning, they activated their EPIRB near 34:21N/67:17W
having lost their rudder in storm force winds aimlessly drifting
westerly with the wind.
TRIPLE STAR was at the same location near 65W longitude with BOONATSA on
November 5th but slowed down overnight
into the 6th in NE 20 knot wind and was not able to make much progress
thereafter as the winds shifted from the E then SE by November 8th,
pushing them towards 36:02N/63:52W in SE 20knot winds.
November 8th a major weather change occurred.
The gale which had drifted WSW'ly to 27N, 70W between Saturday the 5th and
Wednesday the 8th became Tropical Storm SEAN.
track was forecast to change course and head NE rather than more NW'ly as
previously forecast by all models and the NWS.
That put TRIPLE STAR right into the track of T.S Sean.
With winds on the port quarter Herb recommended that they head in a westerly
direction to 36 to 36:30N, 68W remaining in
moderate winds from the SE until they crossed a frontal system Thursday night
into Friday morning November the 10tht to the 11th.
explained that they would experience a fast and strong NW'ly wind shift once
the front passed and suggested that they take all precautions.
The only sail they had up was a stay sail. Herb arranged for a special radio
schedule at 9 AM EST on Friday morning November 11,
to check on status of TRIPLE STAR and two other yachts in close vicinity.
Everyone was through the front in good spirits, experiencing 25 to 35knots
from the NW, Seas 10 to 12 ft, with moderate winds
expected by midday. A nice window to follow towards Bermuda with light N to
in the day Herb received a call bearing the sad news from the Bermuda Marine
Operations Centre, that TRIPLE STAR
had activated their EPIRB at about 1:30 PM, as the skipper's wife had been
The U.S Coast Guard searched the area for more than 24 hours and had the
merchant vessel HIGH JUPITER take the skipper on board
and assist in the search, which was unsuccessful. Media reports state that
the skipper threw a life ring to his wife and that his wife
just disappeared near the life ring, which suggests that she wore no life vest
with the normally attached safety features, nor a safety harness
that could have prevented her from going overboard.
Rally had a very sad, sad ending. Herb responded to the organizer's
accusations by stating that the NARC RALLY should not
have left on November 1st. Not all yachts in the Rally could travel at 8-10
knots, necessary to arrive in Bermuda before the gale to
storm force conditions hit the slower yachts in the RALLY.
With no public support on Herb's behalf, in reference to Charles
Doane’s “Wavetrain” Articles, it is difficult for him to find any reason to
continue to provide the full scope of his weather forecasting and ship
routing service to the yachting community in future. Beginning 2012, he will
scale down his operation as further indicated under NET procedure.