OK.. another long one.. sorry guys n gals..
In 2001 I was involved in my only collision
at sea to date. I was T-boned by a french sailboat with a crew of 4 motor
sailing at 6kts with all below. Good visibility, light winds, 5.45pmBST, 5 miles Sth of Start Point.
I was heading East towards Poole under sail and they were heading Nth for Salcombe, tide a Westerly ebb. I had no engine
and my only electrics was a jury set up solar
panel+battery+tiller pilot.. electrics/port lowers blown out in electric
storm 1400 miles earlier and mast
lowers jury rigged with ropes and block and tackle adjuster... the French boat, after the ramming reversed away for some distance then shot off leaving me with a 4ft vertical split in the hull
by my stbd shrouds and a 14+ft split in the hull/deck join... I'd been solo at sea for 47 days..
Luckily I had some charge left in my Mobile phone
and managed to raise the emergency
services who linked me thro' to the Coast Guard..
I explained my situation, damage caused an reasons for not being able to continue and also why I could not make it to Salcombe unaided.
As is usual in the UK they put out an all ships for voluntary assistance before hitting the RNLI.. although I could see several yachts in the vicinity no one offered assistance so the Lifeboat was dispatched to tow me in.
After getting alongside in Salcombe, while the CG, Harbour Master and myself were discussing what had happened and the fact they'd collared the french boat entering... this guy comes wandering up and asked if I was the guy with no engine
and couldn't sail...
The Harbour Master confirmed that I was.. whereupon he said, in his best Oxford English
.."I heard the all ships, I was about 2 miles away.. but decided that someone who had no engine and could not sail had no right being out there... so I told my crew we'd let the stupid fool sort out his own mess".. needless to say had I not been grabbed by the CG and Harbour Master I might well be writing this from a prison cell...
I will always offer help before judging anyone, as circumstances are not always as they may initially seem... apart from which.. I enjoy it..