125 yards? = too close.
But for racing
probably not out of the ballpark on the risk taking dept - for simple fun / cruising / recreational voyage, IMO wayyyy too close. Because that distance didn't allow for anything to go wrong (or simply not as expected).
Perhaps one thing the Skipper
did not fully appreciate is that not only did they have the wind
and wave / swell action pressing them towards shore (which is ok to deal with as long as you have good forward motion) - but also that the whole bloody ocean will move you inshore! (almost like a Tsunami effect). That 10 boat lengths (which in itself is a bit of a rough finger in the air calculation) can dissapear very quickly - might be ok for the average roller coming in, but not for something larger than average (there is always something larger than average - inconveniant, but not "rogue"
)...that just appearing would probably move the boat half way into the "normal" breaking zone, and that's before it even arrives at / on the boat and starts seriously pushing you inshore (whilst of course growing in power as it does also move inshore).
Perhaps would have been of more use to have employed a coastal sailor than an Ocean Racer
- at least one who is used to being on the end of an Ocean when it arrives on shore!...not simply experianced at bobbing around on the deep blue sea
Anyway, I suspect that clipping on would have lessened the casualty figures in this case - especially given that the boat itself arrived onshore in one piece (in other circumstances it may have increased it - but overall I would prefer my chances clipped on. YMMV). Of course having half a dozen or so persons colliding with (and landing on!) each other in a cockpit
is likely to also cause at least some injuries.
In regard to the low number of survivors, despite (apparently) wearing PFD's I would say that apart from the crotch strap issue and making life difficult (impossible?) to manouever in the water
or climb out of the water
by self (try climbing into an inflatable
dink wearing one - likely will be an eyeopener).........also have the "problem" of the tumble dryer litterally pounding you into the rocks
....and as for climbing out, apart from being slippy as feck, will also find that barnacles
and similar quickly rip your hands and feet to shreds (and anything else exposed). In any event, by the time you reached the shore likely to be completely shattered (no matter how fit you started off) - and many Ocean exposed rocky shorelines would challenge a competent climber, even in the dry. With ropes. At that point you need a lot of luck.
Another couple of hundred yards out would have made all the difference to the outcome, although looking at the chartlet posted I would have been happier 1/2 a mile out. or a mile
. But I am a conservative navigator - not a racer
FWIW, my hat goes off to those vessels that stood off (reporting the situation) - sometimes it takes more courage to do nothing than to jump in. IMO showed great seamanship, even at the personal cost of a few rounds of later second guessing self.
Dunno if the above counts as Monday morning quarterbacking
- like I care