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Old 14-01-2007, 06:36   #31
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First off Kai Nui, if I were you, I would calm down and stop trying to get your point across by saying things like: "I tried to be civil. Didn't work. Tried to answer your questions. Didn't work." Or: "You are welcome to your opinions, but in this case, they are clearly not based on any experience." Or: "Maybe you could have fashioned an emergency rudder from one of those broken floor boards, disconnected the alternater, and hand cranked the engine, then headed off to Chili. Good for you." And then try to make like you are the civil one and I'm the AH.

Then I would stop trying to prove my civility by saying: "Posts like yours do nothing to encourage discussion on what to do when your electrics are fried, your boat is holed, and your steering is disabled. All they do is instigate arguements." In your face doesn't work with me. I can be civil and I can be an AH. You started it.

3,146 posts on a forum does not mean you have experience. Chicken Little told us the sky was falling, it wasn't. Running around and trying to make your point with statements such as: "His steering was disabled and he was unable to repair it due to the dodger being crushed down over the bent wheel. He had one destroyed battery bank, and one that was still functional, but his electrical system was fried. He had potential propane leaks. He had no mizzen, and the main was broken just above the boom. His boat had water over the cabin sole, and "a 2 foot hole in the hull". Chill out, this is a defeated attitude which leads to poor decisions and a boat on the bottom.

Inquiry and advocacy would be how I would handle the situation. I would make a priority list. Positive attitude is how I would handle the situation and that comes with experience. I promise I will try to make nice if you don't attack my opinion or experience.

Here are my thoughts on Ken's problem:

First and most important: Shut the propane off with the handy easy to use shutoff valve. He didn't say he had a propane leak, he said he suspected a leak. Either way, he was not going to be cooking, so he didn't need the propane to be turned on. Propane is dangerous and could have been Ken's most serious problem after the ship was righted.

Prioritize the problems and handle them in that order.

If I found the propane leaking, I would turn it off and opened as many hatches as the conditions allowed to ventilate the vessel. Having had two of my friends killed after their shrimp boat exploded into kindling, I can speak from experience after seeing the remains. Propane is one of the most dangerous substances aboard. Shutting the valve off takes care of the problem.

"A two foot hole in the hull." Was it in the hull or topside? Was it a hole or an open hatch still attached? I believe Ken said a hatch opened and allowed water in and he couldn't secure the hatch at the time. That's different than your version. Either way, if water is coming in the vessel, I would make this my next priority. Both the propane gas and sinking would be high on my list and could be interchanged in their priority.

When I had time, I would find a way to secure the hatch if it was still a problem. Having blown out three windows in the wheel house on two different occasions, I can assure you water coming into a place its not suppose to come in such as the wheel house gets your attention fast and it must be addressed as high on the priority list. I didn't see Ken as having too much worry about the hatch once he was upright. You have it as a two foot hole in the hull. Bore a hole in the hatch with anything and secure the hatch with a rope.

Bottom line secure the boat from sinking or blowing up.

Water in the bilge or above the cabin sole. Pump the water out of the bilge. As you have in your signature: "There is no better bilge pump than a scared sailor with a bucket." If the bilge pump does not work put the scared sailor to work with a bucket. When time permits and no danger from sparks mixing with propane, hot wire the pump to a battery if necessary and run it as necessary to get the rest of the water out. Don't waste battery power if bucketing is possible.

The electrical system would be a priority. Save what you got until you can get more. Disconnect the batteries. A shutoff switch would be my first thought. The bilge pumps still run on my vessel even with the switch off. I would check to make sure a bilge pump is not draining an important battery bank so I didn't have to do as you said: "Maybe you could have fashioned an emergency rudder from one of those broken floor boards, disconnected the alternater, and hand cranked the engine and headed off to Chile." Snide remarks such as these make it hard to be nice to you.

My sails gone and no time to fashion make shift sails, I would turn to the engine as my means to head off to Chile. Have you ever been to Chile Kai Nui, I have many, many times and highly recommend it. The wine is cheap, the food is great, the people lovely. I would recommend getting their as quick as possible and head to the first Cantina for a stiff one.

The engine. Disconnect it from the batteries as quick as possible if it was flooded to stop electrical damage. Wash it down with any fresh water you don't need for survival limiting the rinsing to electrical such as starter and alternator as well as wiring harnesses and plugs. Diesels are simple, every round the world sailor should know how to flush an engine and jump the starter. It's not hard to do and can save your life. If I had a genset, I would put the generator on the list of things to get to. Diesel fuel is wonderful to rinse the engine down with if water is a concern. Also flush the oil system with diesel fuel and refill with fresh oil. Bottom line do whatever it takes to make your first attempt to start the engine your best attempt. WD40 works great as atomized diesel fuel in the air intake if the injectors are air locked and need to be bled. Pull the injectors if you suspect water in the engine and turn the engine by hand to purge. When purged, spin the engine with the battery for a short burst to clear the rest of the water, spray WD40 or pour diesel fuel in the intake and spin again to coat the cylinders. (Be careful when pouring diesel into the intake and spinning the engine with the injector out. From experience, it will atomize the fuel through the injector holes and fill your boat with a possible explosive mixture. I found this out the hard way and now place a rag over the injector holes before spinning to catch the vapor.) Replace the injectors. Check the starter. Pull if necessary and flush it out with water or diesel and dry before applying electricity. Do the same to the alternator.

As for the fried electrical panel, who needs it. Jump the breakers if necessary. Power only what is necessary after the unit was inspected and flushed as required. This is not another hand wringing system. It's simple if you make it simple.

I never read where I had to make a rudder out of floor boards. Are you making something up about the rudder being gone or was it still attached. From what I read the wheel that was bent was the steering wheel bent over the cabin top and the shift lever was snapped off. From the pictures that does not seem like a big problem. Inquiring minds want to know fact not supposition.

I'll rest this for now since I'm being paged for breakfast on the quarterdeck. I do think a discussion using Ken's predicament and ways to solve his situation would be helpful. Giving up is not an option in my book. The life you take may be your own.
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Old 14-01-2007, 06:42   #32
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Sailing under jury rig is difficult and slow at best, but in the Southern Ocean, without the ability to reef, or otherwise have full control of the sails, and the likelyhood of more severe storms, this would have been dangerous, if not irresponsible.
Just FYI, in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race, the yacht SEB broke their mast in the Southern Ocean and sailed to Chile under Jury Rig. (Later in that same race, the yacht Amer Sports Two broke their mast in the North Atlantic Ocean and sailed to Nova Scotia under Jury Rig). In the 1997-1998 Whitbread Race, the yachts EF Education and Silk Cut also broke their masts in the Southern Ocean and both sailed on to Argentina under Jury Rig.

Kai, I disagree with you about the "irresponsible" part. Effecting a self-rescue by sailing your boat under Jury Rig would be the most responsible course of action you could take, Southern Ocean storms or not!

(BTW, I have a very interesting book about the 1997-1998 Whitbread race, written by Knut Frostad, skipper of the Innovation Kvaerner campaign. The title of the book is "Whitbread Round the World Race: Responsible for the Irresponsible")

EDIT: another book of interest, "Red Sky in Mourning" -- Tami Ashcroft Oldham lost not only her masts but also her fiance, yet she still managed to sail to Hawai under Jury Rig. Not Southern Ocean, but still....

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Old 14-01-2007, 07:15   #33
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Not to derail the discussion at all, but I find it odd that this was so widely publicized. Any ideas on why this is so?

It struck me as particularly odd that when people felt his life was in danger, his website was being updated real time with what was happening. Who was updating it? Why weren't they sitting at home worried?

I don't want to start anything or say he wasn't up against some issues, but the level of publicity in the media and through the real-time updates on his website seemed a bit odd for someone in danger.
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Old 14-01-2007, 07:22   #34
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The jury rig is a measure of experience and fortitude. I grew up having to learn to jury rig with string, clam bag wire ties and when invented, duct tape. How many of you ran around in a go kart with a string as the throttle cable or something similar?

Throwing your hands up and kicking the dog does not solve the problem. Panic by one, leads to panic by others. The Captain is in charge, he should take charge and show a positive attitude. Gritting your teeth, setting priorities and thinking clearly is the best course of action. Inaction is not action. I'm not the only sailor in the world that believes this. We do what we do because we like to be challenged. Life on the sea is dangerous whether in a mono-hull, a multi-hull or power boat.

When I leave port, I will come back or die trying. But I will try. With Ken knowing rescue was on the way, he should have been energized to try and fix his vessel. He decided to go public and post all the details of his voyage and rescue. This leads to scrutiny and opinions.

Pat him on the back if you think he did a great job as Kai Nui has been doing. I believe Ken gave up an opportunity of a lifetime by quitting.
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Old 14-01-2007, 07:36   #35
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Ok, I'm in.

Kau Nui is a great guy with a lot of helpful and informative posts on this forum. He is an online friend of mine and I agree with just about everything he says.

In this once case though, not to promote any argument or take sides, I have to say that the approach Cavu describes here is exactly how I approach problems at sea. Even just coastal cruising, I have seen my floorboards awash, had an impellor fail entering the Cape Cod Canal, etc... I just posted a watch in both situations (girlfriend or wife), went below and fixed the situation.

Popping around the Caribbean on the megayachts, I had fewer problems like this, but oh so many jury rigs on the tenders when things went wrong.

That said, is it possible our guy Ken activated the EPIRB while things were rough and he was scared? As in, maybe he activated it out of fear and then had to sit there holding it in the companionway since it had already been activated and the search was underway? I mean if the authorities are already coming to get you, jury rigging and trying to get home is somewhat futile. Sounds like he just gave up once the EPIRB was activated. Again, no reflection on him, or any postings here, just some thinking out loud to try and make sense of if all.
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Old 14-01-2007, 08:42   #36
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Wow, is this getting heated or what!

I know nuffin' and I'll freely admit it. I'm probably just about the least experienced poster on this board in fact!

Never the less I'm gonna stick my head into the lions mouth and offer up a point or two and wait for the flack to arrive

First up, nobody but Ken suffered as a result of his actions. Yep, fair enough the Chilean Navy and the Polar Pesca burnt some fuel and "wasted" some time rescuing the guy but, and correct me here if I'm wrong, isn;t one of the oldest principles of seafaring the one that goes something like "Saving life at sea takes priority over all other considerations"?

I have no doubt that some solo skippers would have probably been able to sort things out and bring what was left of the boat back to port somehow. I'd like to think I'd be one of them but until, God forbid, I'm in that situation myself - alone, scared, beat up and mentally and physically shattered - I've no way of knowing for sure.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of his being there in the first place, and however the rollover and damage came about, Ken seems to have made a reasoned decision to abandon ship based on logic, common sense and a realistic assessment of his options and situation as he saw it.

By definition, if Ken feels he made the right choice then he made the right choice since only he stood to lose anything, including his life, by the decisions he made. We can second guess his choices, and there's something to be learnt by doing so, but surely we shouldn't be castigating a fellow sailor and doubting his integrity quite so much???

As to whether he should have been there in the first place, do we really want to open that particular can of worms? In a world where taking risks is increasingly frowned upon I have a sneaking admiration for anyone who sticks two fingers up to the conventions and goes for it!

At what point will I have accumulated enough knowledge and experience to unntie the boat and sail it out of the harbour? To spend a night at sea? To sail out of sight of land? To navigate through the English channel shipping? To sail to the Azores? To cross the Atlantic?

Surely the only way that I will really know that I've gained the necessary experience and knowledge is when I arrive safely at my destination?

Ken didn't make it and maybe no matter how much experience he might have had the fates had decided on the outcome. There's no guarantees that, even if he could have jury rigged a sail or got the engine going, he would have been able to make it to safety and a real possibility that his chances of rescue would have been compromises as a result.

He had to make one hell of a tough choice when all's said and done. A choice between living to fight again another day for certain and taking an enormous risk in trying to bring a boat back to harbour which, even had he made it, he would then have had to sell for a fraction of its value because he simply hadn't got the money to carry out the extensive repairs that would have been required.

Lets give the guy a break eh?
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Old 14-01-2007, 09:29   #37
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Originally Posted by Trim50
How it happened, in Kens words...
I think by this time most people know that if I were to give my current lat. and long. It would be a lot further north than expected. Yes, my trip is over and ended much differently than anticipated. On Jan. 2nd the boat was rolled at around 3pm. I lost my masts, dodger, arch and most everything above decks. My location at the time was lat 54.44 long. 86. I was sailing in 35-45 kt winds on my starboard quarter on a course just south of east with the center of the low pressure system to my southwest and still aways away. The swells were averaging 20-25 feet and coming from 3 different directions but primarily from the northwest.
It has been brought to my attention that in a early radio report I stated that I had my mizzen sail up but If that is what I said It was a misstatement on my part and I apologize for the confusion that I caused by that statement. If I had been running with the mizzen up in those conditions all the negative reaction would definitely be warranted but that was not the case. I was running with only my staysail up. The main and mizzen had been taken down and secured several hours prior to the rollover. My speed was 4-6 kts. And I was trying to get through what I saw by the weather faxes as the last low I would have to face before rounding Cape Horn.
Because I was not In what I considered to be extreme conditions, which I would define as exceeding hull speed with no sail up, or even close to it, I wasn’t thinking of defensive positions yet, such an steaming a drogue and lying a hull. I was below decks at the time of the roll and can only make assumptions of what actually took place at that time based on what I had seen happening before the roll. The boat was rounded up in a gust of wind and before the autopilot could correct a breaking wave caught me broadside. Individually the wind strength, wave or angle to the sea would not have caused a rollover but all 3 together produced that result.
My first impression when the roll occurred was of water rushing in through one of the ports on the lee side. These were approximately 12x8 inch opening side ports that were thoroughly dogged down. My immediate next impression was of light and water entering the main salon. I did not even feel the roll when it occurred or notice the damage that took place inside the boat when it happened. The very first thing I did was go to the source of light and water and see what the cause of it was. I made my way to the main salon and looked up to see no hatch where one was supposed to be. . Standing on a seat I expected to see the hatch completely gone. What I saw was worse than I expected. The rig was gone and with it everything else above decks. The hatch cover was still attached but the locking mechanisms were broken off and I had no way to secure it. The next thing I did was go back to the galley area and secure the port that had opened. I then went out the companionway to the cockpit to further asses the damage. And deploy the drogue.
The steering wheel was completely bent over the deckhouse and steering the boat was not possible also the shift lever was broken off. My thinking went along these lines. The worst of the low is still on its way and I can’t steer the boat. I can’t even take the wheel off because the dodger was collapsed over the wheel and would have to be unbolted and sorted out first. Going back below I started to asses the damage there. The first thing I noticed was the floorboards that secured one of the battery banks had been broken through and that battery bank was scattered and useless. I switched to the other bank and the breaker panel shorted out. Having 120 pounds of propane on board and not knowing if any of the propane supply lines had been compromised in the rollover I did not think it wise to pursue attempting to restore power to the autopilot at that time.
What I was faced with was a boat that had a 2 foot opening in the hull on deck that could not be immediately secured and no way to steer the boat and these were only the obvious problems also did not know how the boat would ride on the drogue. My concern was that the boat would yaw from side to side and get in a position to be rolled again. If that happened I would be in a much worse position than I was in already. The water level inside the boat was up a few inches past the floorboards and I could not immediately see if it was getting worse due to the motion of the boat. All of these things took place in about 2 minutes. I had to make a quick decision about the next step. Whether to ride out the worst of the storm which was still approaching and hope the boat didn’t roll again, because if it did I was probably going into the life raft in very cold water for what turned out to be over 2 days or to activate the EPIRB and set in motion a series of events that would bring others into my predicament. I can only say that I hope you are never faced with that decision; it was not one that I took lightly. My decision was to activate the beacon.
The next thing I did was to make a sat phone call to assure my girlfriend I was currently ok and to alert the coast guard because even though the EPIRB has a blinking light there is no two way communication and I wanted to be sure the signal was getting out of the steel hull. My time next was mostly spent preparing myself and the boat the best I could for a worst case situation. I put on my survival suit, prepared the life raft for deployment and got a few things tied together in the event of another rollover. After awhile I went back up on deck in the storm to make a call and try to get an idea of when, and in what form, helicopter or boat, help would arrive, also what, if anything, I could do to affect an easier rescue. That’s about the time I noticed the plane circling overhead. I put down the sat. phone and got the handheld VHF to contact the plane. It was a very brief conversation as I don’t speak Spanish and the person I spoke to did not speak English. I watched as they flew away.
The storm was raging. I made the phone call and found out the plane had been there awhile I just hadn’t seen it or heard it over the storm. The rescue was to happen in about 15 hours. I spent several of those hours sitting on the companionway ladder with the EPIRB in one hand to try to make sure the signal was getting out and a flashlight in the other trying to assist anyone in finding me if it wasn’t since it was now dark and there were no other lights available to illuminate my position. 15 hours later I called to find out things were delayed and to expect help now in about 12 more hours. I could not leave my sat. phone on because I would run the battery down and I had no way to recharge it. There was no indication from the weather fax of the intensity of the storm that the rescue vessel was in and I had no idea in what form or direction rescue would be coming from. Approximately 55 hours later the lights of the POLAR PESCA 1 appeared on the horizon at 3am.
I had already made the decision to scuttle the boat. My investment in the attempt was well over $250,000. I estimated the cost of repairing the damage to the boat in excess of $100,000. My wallet was empty and the time available to sail her back home would soon be limited as I would have to return to some sort of work in the near future. I was not about to leave her floating to endanger anyone else. The decision was not easy however it was clear what the correct course of action was.
As the POLAR PESCA 1”s crew loaded the last of my 4 bags into the inflatable I went below one last time. Over the last few years this boat and I had developed a relationship. I new her intimately. I had been through every possible space aboard time after time painting, restoring, running wire, cleaning, improving, updating, replacing and constantly inspecting her for any possible weakness. She was repeat with redundancy. Spare parts were available for most items aboard and carefully packed away, never used. I had spent more time with this inanimate piece of steel than I had with my family over the last few years and I felt she was alive and ready to pursue the purpose of her original owners dream to sail the world. She wouldn’t die by herself. I had to intentionally bring her down. I walked forward carefully stepping over the broken floorboards that I had removed so many times to replace old batteries and run new wire many, many times.
Forward, down the steps under which lay the water pump I had replaced. Past the new cushions which were now just twisted foam soaked in diesel and salt water sitting on the cabin sole alongside several months’ worth of food supplies in complete disarray. Past the tools scattered around the boat that were purchased in Georgia for the work of decommissioning her for her trip to California and used countless times over the years in seemingly endless upgrades and repairs. Into the head that had been completely rebuilt and replumbed from the holding tank all the way to the thru hulls.
I reached into my pocket and retrieved a knife that would accomplish one final duty on this, her last day and cut thru her new plumbing well below the waterline. Opening 2 of her five new thru hulls I stood and watched briefly as water started to flood into her. I turned and walked away pausing briefly in the salon to run my hand over the grab rails that had provided me with so much security on this attempt as she battled her way thru seas and winds few have the opportunity to confront. The crew sent to retrieve me sat silently in the dingy as they watched me put the boards in and slide the hatch shut one last time. These were men of the sea and no words were spoken as we motored back to the fishing boat that would return me to the world, they new what I had done and left me to my own thoughts.
As a final epilogue it should be noted that for this attempt the cost of insurance was prohibitive and thus the boat was not covered by insurance in any way and was obviously a total loss. I learned much on this attempt. As with anything new there are things I did right and things I did that were wrong. My biggest regret was involving others in my attempt at a personal goal. I don’t know that the attempt will be made again even with the expeirience I have gained. I was “all in” on this attempt and left nothing on the table. The costs in time, money and emotion were very great. To gather those resources again will take a lot of energy and who knows what tomorrow will bring a new adventure may be on the horizon. I want to thank all of you who wished me well and prayed for my safe return, it was and is deeply felt. Go ahead and LIVE your life. To simply exsist sucks. Ken
I stand by my comment. It's still a load of crap. Beyond what CAVU said, who the hell is gonna sit there and listen to the rig bang against the hull for two days? Drive the pins out and be done with it. Geez.

The guy has every right to sail any boat anywhere he wants. He can bail anytime he wants and know that sailors everywhere will come to his aid. I'm glad he's safe but don't tell me to respect his actions post gravity storm. This is nothing more then made for TV bullshit. I've waisted enough time reading his account and writing about it. If he's your hero, so be it, he aint mine.

Socery - Rogue Wave and the boat now sails out of the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club.
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Old 14-01-2007, 10:28   #38
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Bru, I agree with you from the perspective of experience.
Cavu, assessing the situation and taking actions to secure the vessel and assess the options is what I woul have done. I am assuming Ken did that, but I wasn't there.
I made one mistake here. Your post baited me, and I took it. I am done. I offered to discuss it offline. The offer stands.
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Old 14-01-2007, 12:00   #39
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And, as a moderator on this forum, I find valid points all over the place. I also find the other comments OFF TOPIC and not germane to (IMHO) this good discussion.

If folks wish to debate their experience and belittle other poster's opinions, then it will be off line and not on the public forum. Any future posts that do not conform to that, will be (at least) deleted.

By all means debate what Ken did or didn't do.

My personal opinion is that Bru nailed some very good points. In particular, I think that the psychological aspect of having your dreams smashed, your life's work virtually destroyed (the money you worked all your life for to achieve your dreams) may have drove Ken into a very deep depression. He was probably just going through the motions with the mind numb and filled with dispare. He was also physically injured.

When you have been beaten physically, emotionally, and psychologically, it may be that he just wasn't able to cope. I don't know how I would act. But, the bottom line is: he survived.
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Old 14-01-2007, 12:37   #40
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S/V Elusive, the above post was written while you were also writing. I think it is a good post although it does not completely conform with your request. Future posts will. Do what you want.
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Old 14-01-2007, 12:39   #41
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Anybody here read the Smeetons' book "Once is Not Enough". Picthpoled, dismasted, gaping hole in the deck where the doghouse was ripped off, in the same piece of ocean. First thing he did was sharpen his saw, couldn't do a decent repair without sharp tools.
A point has been raised on another forum here in Kiwiland asking whether there would be fewer rescues if we didn't have them so easily available, In this case, had he not had an epirb and believed that rescue was at hand, how might he have acted differently?
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Old 14-01-2007, 12:53   #42
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CAVU - thank you for understanding ... if you wish to repost with the germane material, please do so.
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Old 14-01-2007, 12:54   #43
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Originally Posted by S/V Elusive
When you have been beaten physically, emotionally, and psychologically, it may be that he just wasn't able to cope. I don't know how I would act. But, the bottom line is: he survived.
After the beating and you realize you did survive, that's the time you take your second breath and get the upper hand. Some can, some can't. But if you can, that's when you reach the next level in boating and self confidence.
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Old 14-01-2007, 13:22   #44
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I'm just an interested onlooker in the Kai Nui/Cavu debate, but it looks like Kai Nui has a tiger by the tail - good luck to Kai in smoothing Cavu's ruffled feathers. If the guy can post a loooong response, go eat breakfast, and come back to his computer, compose another loooong rant and post it (all within 44 minutes), I doubt you'll ever have the last word.

By the way, Cavu, Moss Landing isn't in the LA area. It's on Monterrey Bay.

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Old 14-01-2007, 13:32   #45
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