I've been following this thread for a while. I'm deeply sorry for the loss of Laura and Rule
62 and the experience of the captain/crew, appalled by xxuxx's comments (and my wife's response is much, much stronger than "appalled"), and interested in the "lessons learned/shared experiences" commentary.
One question my wife and I were discussing yesterday, and that I don't believe I've seen posted/suggested in this thread, is the idea that in an emergency
with the boat you stay with the boat until it slips under the water
. I can't imagine the terror bouncing over reefs
in huge breaking seas (I've sailed in the North Bar Channel, and in/out the Little Harbour channel a couple of times, and anchored a bit behind Lynyard, and even dinghied on the outside of Lynyard so I do know the area a little bit), but aren't you better off in a bit plastic boat than a little rubber raft in those conditions, at least until it breaks apart? We have discussed over and over how "you never leave the boat until it is sinking, and you don't cut the liferaft
free until the big boat really sinks below the waves". Very few of us (not including me) can understand what it must be like to actually have to make that decision (leave or stay), but my thinking (way out of harm's way, of course) is that my family never, never leaves the boat until it is going under. Its made to float, and made strong, and will likely survive better a bashing over a reef on the way to shore than my body will.
And one reply, to Kenny (sorry, I couldn't resist) - as far as how one knows whether an area is passable or not when one is new to the area, if one doesn't know -absolutely certainly know - then one doesn't close with the shore. Period. It's generally not the deep water
and big seas that will cause your boat harm, its the sharp hard parts
around the edges of the water that will. Personally, we used to have a rule
that we never - never - made landfall in the dark. We slowly changed that - we come in after dark in our home port in Kemah
, TX, while on a break from cruising; we came in the channel at Beaufort
, NC after dark, in benign conditions at 11 pm after a good, short passage
from Charleston, SC; we even motored into the Racoon Cay/Johnson Cay area of the Jumentos from offshore
around 11 pm, but in flat seas, no wind
, and after having spent lots of time in the area the previous year, so we felt we knew the area well, plus we know our electronic charts
were spot-on. Even then we dropped the hook in deeper water, and in the morning moved into the bay by Nairn Cay.
Another thing my crew discusses - occasionally - boys included - is that sailing offshore can be dangerous, and we could even die. But they also know we could die driving in Houston
traffic, or we could have died on more than one tiny charter
airplane ride (that the kids
, much younger, thought was a thrilling roller-coaster ride), etc.
Our prayers are with the family and friends of Laura and and the rest of the crew of Rule 62.