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Old 22-02-2016, 19:57   #1
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Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

Very sad. Being a solo sailor can no doubt be emotionally hard. Are any solo sailors willing to share your own experiences of emotional lows and difficulties?

Category: | The Mercury

The submerged yacht of Donald Marshall, of Queensland, that ran aground on the southern side of Badger Island, west of Flinders Island. Picture: Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust

A 78-YEAR-OLD lone yachtsman killed himself after his yacht Aspro II ran aground on Badger Island in 2013, a coroner has found.

Donald Joseph Marshall, of Queensland, had run aground three times in a few weeks.
His body was found floating 2km off Badger Island on June 4, 2013 and it was assumed he had drowned..
It was not until his body was brought ashore that an investigation opened.
“It is impossible to make any finding as to why Mr Marshall took his own life,” Coroner Simon Cooper said.
“It may well be that having twice in a very short time needing to be rescued the third and final incident of running aground on Badger Island and the resultant confusion on Mr Marshall’s part as to his current location caused him a level of distress and despair that led to him undertaking those actions.”

Mr Marshall had been in contact with the Tamar Coastal Patrol co-ordinator Bryn Warrick throughout the morning of the incident after a 1am mayday call..
Mr Warrick told the Mercury in 2013 that he had spoken to the sailor on and off for a couple of hours after getting a mayday call about 1am. ``I was talking to him on the radio and he would go back up on deck and then come down to talk on the radio,’’ Mr Warrick said. ``We were talking until about 3am.’’
He said Mr Marshall’s plan was to stay with the vessel.
”What he said was that if too much water came in as the tide came in, he would try to go to the rocks,’’ he said.
For 24/7 crisis support call Lifeline 131 114, SCBS 1300 65946 or headspace.org.au
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Old 22-02-2016, 20:06   #2
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

A couple of reports at the time,

Sailor's death brings safety plea for sailors | The Examiner

Police puzzled after experienced yachtsman found dead off Tasmania's Flinders Island - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
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Old 22-02-2016, 21:10   #3
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

He was a good friend of mine. I am not going to go into details here, out of respect for the family.

When it's close to my time, I'd rather be out sailing than in hospital or an old folks home.

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Old 22-02-2016, 21:35   #4
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

Amen brother. I can only speak for myself. I took retirement as early as I could get SSI. I want to enjoy myself as long as possible. Although people are horrified at people taking their own lives, there can be realistic factors for the individuals decision.
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Old 23-02-2016, 08:17   #5
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
He was a good friend of mine. I am not going to go into details here, out of respect for the family.

When it's close to my time, I'd rather be out sailing than in hospital or an old folks home.

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Amen brother. I can only speak for myself. I took retirement as early as I could get SSI. I want to enjoy myself as long as possible. Although people are horrified at people taking their own lives, there can be realistic factors for the individuals decision.
Amen, and condolences on the loss of your friend, Snowpetrel. Rip
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Old 23-02-2016, 08:37   #6
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
When it's close to my time, I'd rather be out sailing than in hospital or an old folks home.

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It's been quite a long time ago but someone else posted about an older guy that lived aboard a Trawler in his Marina, as he got old for whatever reason he was told he was going to be taken off his boat and put in a home, well he decided he didn't want that and took his life instead.

My Father took his, he had fought Cancer for years, was on Dialysis etc., and his quality of life was terrible, and the Cancer came back and he was in pain with zero chance of getting better.
He and I had spoken about it before, he had said he admired people that could do that, that it took courage.
I admire him for his decision and hope when my time comes, I'm in a position to make that determination and am as courageous as he was.

I think it's a lot more common than you may think, or used to be anyway.
Used to be a Dr would prescribe a pain med to a terminally ill patient and tell them not to take too many, if they did, they wouldn't wake up.
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Old 23-02-2016, 08:52   #7
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

It takes a brave soul to exit on ones own terms. As I close in on retirement myself this month my family and friends know and understand my wishes, do yours?

When my time comes I too will opt for the "long swim" vs the warehousing my mother is currently relegated to in late stage Alzheimer's.

With my genetic history, 7 concussions in my youth and 26 surgeries for skin cancer I am motivated to retire now at 63 while I can enjoy my life vs waiting for what may or may not be the ultimate outcome.

Savor you life, live frugally, retire early. Try not to be judgmental of those who chose/plan their own exit.
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Old 23-02-2016, 09:36   #8
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Being a solo sailor can no doubt be emotionally hard. Are any solo sailors willing to share your own experiences of emotional lows and difficulties?
There's a novel that describes what may have happened to Donald Crowhurst during his attempt at the Single-Handed Round the World Race in 1968

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Crowhurst

The book is called Outerbridge Reach. I read it once but may never read it again. It gets pretty twisted.

At one point, he can only pickup some weird religious channel on his radio and his mind had already started to turn. He had a fictitious log book going as well as a real log book.

I wouldn't recommended it to any single hander with an overactive imagination......

http://www.amazon.com/Outerbridge-Re.../dp/0395938945
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Old 23-02-2016, 09:48   #9
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Amen brother. I can only speak for myself. I took retirement as early as I could get SSI. I want to enjoy myself as long as possible. Although people are horrified at people taking their own lives, there can be realistic factors for the individuals decision.
Yeah, me too. Signed up for SSI the day I turned 62.
Decided I would rather have the time than more money.
Personally I find that making the decision to end it all when the time comes a rather noble and generous act. I hope that I will have the courage to do the same.
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:18   #10
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pirate Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

In a lot of ancient.. and not so ancient.. tribes the old used to purposely walk off into the wilderness to die when they felt of no more use.. and to ease the burden of the tribe.
In the North it was usually a winter ritual as freezing to death is a relatively easy and painless affair.
Considering productivity is the driver of man.. it seems illogical to prevent someone from voluntarily 'terminating his contract' if he feels he can no longer cope with the 'Piece Work' expected.. so long as he does it in a manner that does not endanger others in the performance.
If you want to jump.. do it off a tall river bridge.. those folk on the pavement below have done you no harm..
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:21   #11
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

Reading the OP I found it very sad indeed.

Upon continuing and reading the rest of the thread, it strikes me that most of the posts are bittersweet but not depressing.

And then I realized that I was reading posts by sailors, and sailors have never lived (or died) within the rules made by others. I'm sorry to hear a family has lost a loved one. I think the consensus here is that he went out on his own terms and people here respect that.

I am amazed at this community.
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:30   #12
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
He was a good friend of mine. I am not going to go into details here, out of respect for the family.

When it's close to my time, I'd rather be out sailing than in hospital or an old folks home.

Sent from my HTC_0PCV2 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
sorry about your friend and he's at peace now.. you are correct about when it's your time.. in '06 i got in a bike wreck in north carolina, woke up in hospital and seen my brother standing there and i said what the hell is goin on? he said, "you were in an accident two months ago". broken neck lost kidney broke femur, knee, 7 ribs and lotsa titanium now in left leg but i will never go back to nursing home again..i don't want my kids spoon feeding me oatmeal and changing diapers.. have done 200k miles on bike since and can't wait to get on the boat.. this ain't no dress rehearsal.. all the best
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:33   #13
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

At least in the US, the health care system seems a little geared to cash in on the old and infirm, you work your entire life to amass some wealth so that you can be comfortable in your old age, you get sick and the system chews through your entire worth in a matter of months.
Some chose not to go that route if there is no hope, My Father left his wife well cared for for however long she may live and as opposed to leaving his Children an inheritance, he set up an education trust fund to send his descendants to secondary education if they so chose.
But he had been exposed to the profit making of the system personally so he knew.
This is a copy of his testimony to the US Senate on Dialysis
Dr. Bays U.S. Senate Testimony
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:36   #14
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

My condolences, Snowpetrel.

In general:
Ending your life for health reasons (euthanasia) is not the same as ending your life out of desperation / not knowing what else to do anymore.

Romanticizing suicide ... I have an issue with that, while I have no issues whatsoever with euthanasia.

An acquaintance of mine drowned while sailing (accident). Lots of people had nothing more to say then "he died doing what he loved". Erhm, no, he did not. He loved sailing, not falling overboard and watching his boat sail on without him. What he loved was cruising, not drowning.

Generally speaking, people drowning themselves aren't "doing what they loved" nor do they do it because they felt all happy or brave & strong.

Having dealt with both suicide and euthanasia, there is a HUGE difference between the two and pretending they are more or less the same thing ... just don't, please.
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:51   #15
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Re: Solo Sailor Took His Own Life

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Savor your life, live frugally, retire early.
Amen.

R.I.P. Donald Marshall.
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