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Old 25th February 2013, 05:21 PM   #1
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'This is the Charm Blow, we are abandoning ship'

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/25/us/cal...ren/index.html

Strange story here, a series of fragmentary distress calls from a person reporting his vessel named (probably) "Charmblow" 65 miles offshore, reported a loss of power, and then taking on water and electronics failures, and finally a call saying abandoning ship. Could not give a GPS position. Said two children aboard. Also something about improvising a life raft.

Only nobody has found a thing, and nobody has been reported missing, and nobody appears to know a vessel by that name, with the CG calling all the harbors in the area enquiring about such a vessel.

Hoax?

Or just what it appears?
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Old 25th February 2013, 06:13 PM   #2
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Charmglow, surely. It's a popular grill brand.
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Old 25th February 2013, 07:01 PM   #3
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Probably a hoax but the CG has to investigate regardless. When the Scorpion was lost some jackass used their open channel radio call sign "Brandywine" to mislead the navy. Those types of people are sadly out there.
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Old 25th February 2013, 08:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Hoax?
I certainly hope so. Things like this happens quite a bit here and the one common denominator is when there's people (or even animals) lost off the Pacific coast, there's usually somebody missing them. Whenever its happens here, we're usually bombarded with interviews from family and friends of the missing, which our local media never fails to ferret out. Those interviews will, almost certainly, be the lead story on our local newscasts. Haven't seen any such thing tonight.

Also missing are reports from the local pleasure and commercial boating community, a close-knit group who are usually aware of the identity of the vessels among their ranks.
Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Or just what it appears?
I certainly hope not.
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Old 25th February 2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Charmglow, surely. It's a popular grill brand.
Was thinking Charm Blow Pops.
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Old 26th February 2013, 04:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by patchbunny View Post
Was thinking Charm Blow Pops.
Maybe it was like the 'Good Ship Lolly-pop'? Of course, with a name like "Charm Blow", they could have been drug smugglers too.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:11 AM   #7
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I wonder if it might be a mis-hearing of the French "Chambleaux" or "Chambeaux"?
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:17 AM   #8
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1. Insurance scam?

2. A party who wished to make a credible exit?
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
1. Insurance scam?

2. A party who wished to make a credible exit?

Presumably in either of these cases they'd want to be identified?
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Old 26th February 2013, 08:49 AM   #10
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Still nobody reporting them missing.

The coast guard doesn't know who they are, where they came from or where they were going. All they had was radio contact.

Very odd.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sec...bay&id=9007629
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Old 26th February 2013, 08:57 AM   #11
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The audio of the first distress call is here.
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Old 26th February 2013, 08:59 AM   #12
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Does the Coast Guard not have radio direction finders? I know they're not necessarily common equipment, but they'd seem to be a logical item for someone involved in search and rescue on the ocean to have, at least on larger ships or bases.

Not criticizing, just curious. I also don't know much abotut he details of how RDFs work, so maybe the signal wasn't strong enough or long enough or something.
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:02 AM   #13
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Something that struck me as odd when I first read the story: Is it common for sailing vessels to venture out 65 miles when rough seas are forecast?
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sabretooth View Post
Something that struck me as odd when I first read the story: Is it common for sailing vessels to venture out 65 miles when rough seas are forecast?
Well, I don't know about "common," but it's not unheard of.
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
Well, I don't know about "common," but it's not unheard of.
Yeah, but the Charm is obviously much smaller. Two adults to operate the ship? Doesn't sound like the type of boat I'd want to be on at that range.
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sabretooth View Post
Yeah, but the Charm is obviously much smaller. Two adults to operate the ship? Doesn't sound like the type of boat I'd want to be on at that range.
I wouldn't want to be on a replica of an 18th-century sailing ship in the face of a hurricane, either.
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Does the Coast Guard not have radio direction finders? I know they're not necessarily common equipment, but they'd seem to be a logical item for someone involved in search and rescue on the ocean to have, at least on larger ships or bases.

Not criticizing, just curious. I also don't know much abotut he details of how RDFs work, so maybe the signal wasn't strong enough or long enough or something.
If Deadliest Catch is nay expectation, they kind of do, but it's extremely inaccurate. They usually use a EPIRB for precise location.
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Does the Coast Guard not have radio direction finders? I know they're not necessarily common equipment, but they'd seem to be a logical item for someone involved in search and rescue on the ocean to have, at least on larger ships or bases.

Not criticizing, just curious. I also don't know much abotut he details of how RDFs work, so maybe the signal wasn't strong enough or long enough or something.
It could tell you whether it was coming from the direction of the ocean, I guess.
Two, a few miles apart could tell you if it's plausible that it's 65 miles offshore.
But you'd have to either have a policy of DFing every distress call.
For navigation, it usually works the other way around: You have a DF onboard, and pick two or more non-directional beacons (NDBs) with sufficient spread to give you a good cross fix. Plot the reverse headings from the known position of the beacons, and where the lines cross is more-or-less where you are.
But I think most people use GPS these days.
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by TjW View Post
It could tell you whether it was coming from the direction of the ocean, I guess.
Two, a few miles apart could tell you if it's plausible that it's 65 miles offshore.
But you'd have to either have a policy of DFing every distress call.
For navigation, it usually works the other way around: You have a DF onboard, and pick two or more non-directional beacons (NDBs) with sufficient spread to give you a good cross fix. Plot the reverse headings from the known position of the beacons, and where the lines cross is more-or-less where you are.
But I think most people use GPS these days.
Makes sense. I was just thinking about triangulating from two ships to get, at least, a search area.

Of course, they may have done something like this, and be looking. I dunno.

Thanks for the info, though
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Old 26th February 2013, 10:00 AM   #20
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Most likely a hoax. This kind of thing happens quite frequently, unfortunately; enough that there was a recent article in Boat U.S. Magazine discussing the problem. Jackasses do it for the lulz, getting a kick out of sending the Coast Guard out on wild goose chases (and indirectly jeopardizing the safety of other boaters). Penalties are stiff if the prankster is caught, but they rarely are.
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Old 26th February 2013, 11:26 AM   #21
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'This is the Charm Blow, we are abandoning ship'

CNN reporting that the Coast Guard has suspended their search.
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Old 26th February 2013, 11:30 AM   #22
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And they are thinking hoax...from the CNN email alert:

Quote:
The Coast Guard is suspending a search for a boat with four occupants reported missing off San Francisco, a guard commander said today. He said the case is "possibly a hoax."
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Old 26th February 2013, 12:30 PM   #23
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If it is a hoax, I hope they capture the jerks who did it and nail them with the heaviest penalaties possible.
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Old 26th February 2013, 02:32 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sabretooth View Post
Yeah, but the Charm is obviously much smaller. Two adults to operate the ship? Doesn't sound like the type of boat I'd want to be on at that range.
Well, sounds as if they were operating as a motor boat.

If they had been able to make any sail, they would not have been dead in the water and could have been beating for shore even as she was taking on water.
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Old 26th February 2013, 02:43 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
If it is a hoax, I hope they capture the jerks who did it and nail them with the heaviest penalaties possible.
At a minimum a nice slow keelhauling would be appropriate.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:45 PM   #26
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Just a thought that this could have been a family of itinerants who live "on the hook" -

There are some vessels off Key West that people live on and which seem to be in very bad shape.
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Old 27th February 2013, 05:06 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Does the Coast Guard not have radio direction finders? I know they're not necessarily common equipment, but they'd seem to be a logical item for someone involved in search and rescue on the ocean to have, at least on larger ships or bases.

Not criticizing, just curious. I also don't know much abotut he details of how RDFs work, so maybe the signal wasn't strong enough or long enough or something.
I'd have thought that even with GPS RDF would still be in use but I don't know much about the procedures.

Originally Posted by Sabretooth View Post
Something that struck me as odd when I first read the story: Is it common for sailing vessels to venture out 65 miles when rough seas are forecast?
A significant proportion of sailors are, frankly, nuts.
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Old 27th February 2013, 10:58 AM   #28
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RDF needs two stations, or three if the stations are not themselves directional.

I am betting this was a very low power transmitter very near the CG station that received the call.
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Old 27th February 2013, 11:24 AM   #29
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RDF only works if there's an active signal to home in on. My understanding is that the distress signals were short and sporadic.
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Old 27th February 2013, 11:30 AM   #30
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Remember the exploding yacht that wasn't from last summer?
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Old 1st March 2013, 03:03 AM   #31
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Ought to find the creeps who did this, and send them the bill. Good thing nobody got hurt (I HOPE) chasing down this false alarm.
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Old 1st March 2013, 04:39 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Sabretooth View Post
Is it common for sailing vessels to venture out 65 miles when rough seas are forecast?
1979 Fastnet raceWP

I mention the above as there was a documentary on last night about the soon-to-be-retired Sea King helicopter, a mainstay of search-and-rescue operations in Britain for the last forty years and it mentioned the part they played saving people during the above fiasco.
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Old 1st March 2013, 07:18 AM   #33
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There aren't many racing yachts that would race with children on board, though.
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Old 1st March 2013, 09:44 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by TjW View Post
There aren't many racing yachts that would race with children on board, though.
They make great moveable ballast and the sharks always start off with the smaller appetizers...
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Old 1st March 2013, 11:48 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Sam.I.Am View Post
They make great moveable ballast and the sharks always start off with the smaller appetizers...
Sudden flash to that scene in "Das Boot" where everybody ran forward during the crash dive...
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Old 1st March 2013, 02:23 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Just a thought that this could have been a family of itinerants who live "on the hook" -

There are some vessels off Key West that people live on and which seem to be in very bad shape.
The waters off Northren California are a lot rougher and not really conducive to that kind of thing.
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