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Old 15-01-2007, 12:15   #76
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Is This So Difficult to Understand?

Quite frankly, I don't think this is so difficult to understand.

- Ken is 47 years old, not far from the big "five oh"
- He decided to try to be the first sailor to circumnavigate, nonstop, from the West Coast
- He spent 12 years preparing for this
- He spent 5 years preparing the chosen boat for this
- He spent his fortune -- some $250,000 -- on this effort
- He cleared all his financial and family obligations
- He consulted many professionals
- He used modern technologies which many "round-the-buoys" and coastwise cruisers use every day (web, HF email, satphone, etc.)
- He elected to use the web to illustrate his progress, just as MANY such voyages do these days (hardly an exception)
- He actually completed his preparations and got underway on the big adventure
- Long before he got near Cape Horn, things began going not as planned (persistent light airs, headwinds, extremely slow progress, feared damage to rigging from incessant rolling and pitching and yawing about)
- He finally got near his southernmost intended latitude, and storms hit
- He was rolled, losing both masts, staving in hatches, damaging steering and mechanical propulsion, electrical systems, etc.
- He suffered a life-threatening injury to his leg (cut to the bone)
- Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, HIS DREAM WAS GONE!

The dream he'd spent 12 years and $250,000 preparing for.

He had no insurance. It was clear that no matter what transpired from that point forward (making emergency repairs, getting to a port either unassisted or with help, etc.)....IT DIDN'T MATTER ANY MORE -- his dream of becoming the first sailor to circumnavigate solo from a West Coast port was GONE. Irretrievably gone.

Everything else is in the noise. Whether you believe he was terrified, activated the EPIRB precipitously out of fear, should or should not have tried to fix things, should or should not have called for help, should or should not have called his girlfriend, should or should not have had news of his disaster put on his really doesn't matter.

Yeah, I'm a guy with instincts like CAVU, too. My first reaction in an emergency is to begin, in an organized and prioritized way, to do whatever is required.

However, I'm not going to judge what Ken did or didn't do in his unique situation. Because it was unique to him, and I wasn't there. And, whatever you might think of his sailing skills and experience, Ken was no numbskull who decided one day to cross an ocean, bought a boat, and pushed the buttons. His was a serious attempt at something he judged to be worthwhile, and worked very hard to achieve.

Perhaps his biggest mistake was in not immediately replacing his (irretrievably lost) dream with another, one which better suited his present circumstances.


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Old 15-01-2007, 12:30   #77
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I think the thought exercise in consideration of extreme circumstances is invaluable. The beauty of the human mind is that we can learn from other's mistakes. I for one, would start by not sailing solo. I have sailed solo in the past for multiple days and was amazed by the strange places the mind will venture in such a short period without human interaction. I can't begin to imagine one's state of mind after 3 months of solitude.

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Old 15-01-2007, 12:35   #78
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A very good point! The mind can do wonderous and wild things in such circumstances.

One has only to read (or re-read) "The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst" for a deeper understanding.


By the way, what's a Del Rey 50? From the small pic, she looks very nice.

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Old 15-01-2007, 12:57   #79
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Deus Ex Machina Rescues, Shock, and Ethical Choices

Excuse the long post: I trimmed down to the essentials…

Raven begins an interesting twist in the thread at post #49: the way the EPIRB changes the psychology of self-relaince and restructures the decision-tree and ethos of rescue.

It (the EPIRB) has inarguably saved lives. But how many of those people saved by others could have rescued themselves, if the psychological comfort of heroes swooping down from the sky to whisk you to safety, literally at the push of a button, did not exist?

My copy of Dove is next to me, and open to this excerpt:
Perhaps it was because I was too pleased with myself on this occasion or because I was pushing Dove a little too hard that the accident happened. Dove was closing on Samoa when a squall hit, not a heavy squall but blustery enough to be taken seriously. The upshot was that the lower aft shroud broke. Within an eyeblink the mast buckled and fell overboard, carrying with it the mainsail and the jib. Although the wind was perhaps twenty knots, Dove stopped like a duck full of buckshot.

I told the tape: Here I was withing fifteen miles of Tutuila after five hundred hours of sailing and now I'm not going to make it.

It took me twenty minutes to heave the sodden sails and broken mast aboard and two hours to raise the boom and set a jury rig with half the mainsail. I was in no great danger, but it seemed a good idea to put out the brilliant orange distress signal. When an aircraft headed my way I lit a flare, but aimed it at my bare right foot. The steam came off my toes as the aircraft headed out to sea.

Now, with the jury rig I could only sail downwind. A look at the chart and I saw that my only hope of an early landfall was to make for Apia on Upolu Island, fifty-two miles distant.

A jet pilot once told me that he was trained for emergencies. A child, he claimed, could fly an airliner but what separated the men from the boys in the cockpit was the moment that might never happen in a long career— the moment all the red lights start blinking. It's the same with sailing. Anyone can learn in half an afternoon to sail around a harbor, but an emergency like a dismasting calls for seamanship. I was wondering just how good my seamanship was as the wind drove the crippled Dove under her shortened clumsy sail toward Upolu's jagged lee shore.
Make any correction for the extent of damage and size of the cleanup task you want: that's hardly the point.

Was part of the difference between a sixteen-year old kid's and Barnes' responses the advent of the plethora of rescue equipment/options?

Is it acceptable, ethically, to initiate the beacon and put into motion a staggering amount of equipment and manpower, after having been rolled and dismasted in rather large seas, with additional known damage to the steering and electrical systems, but unknown damage to other critical boat systems, i.e., engine and fuel, and the ability to communicate his intentions via satelite phone?

I'm asking if it's an acceptable choice, not the preferable choice.
Note: I'm not trying to let him off the hook, just posing the question.

Or is the the only ethical choice to inventory the damage, then attempt whatever self-rescue you can, which in this case likely involved jury-rigging a sail and establishing rudimentary steering control, seeing if the engine can help propel you, (oh, yeah: sealing the hatch) then continuing to your downwind port in a floating but disabled hull (did he have the equip. to cut away the rigging?), risking the possibility of more bad weather, which may lead to the swamping of the boat and having to retire to the liferaft, and then ride out the bad weather as a tiny speck of inflatable EPIRB-transmitting hypalon in the middle of an ocean? Do the possible dangers of that choice make it more foolhardy than noble?

Take way the EPIRB and sat phone, and Barnes may have been in Punta Arenas today, staring at his battered craft after his self-rescue and wondering what to do next.

Can you hold Barnes to making rational, ethical choices in a mental state fogged by shock (which one does not have to be too sympathetic to allow him)? His mental state at the moment, whatever it actually was, I think had a huge impact on the immediate decisions that were made. Did Barnes have the clarity to seriously consider these options? Was he even thinking that far down the line?

Barnes mentions the thought of a second imminent knockdown playing into his decision. Skeptics of this rationale might counter that rescue would be hours away at the soonest, so activating the EPIRB made no difference on that score.

Reasonable critics (as we are all trying to be) must allow for human frailty; the psychological shock of the event itself and the ramifications to his plans, mentioned by CSY Man, defjef and others. It must have been a shock indeed, and in that temporary state, before reflection on the situation begins, and before the weather subsided, bailing out may have seemed to him the "only" choice. I bet he had plenty of time to reconsider actions he might have taken during his protracted wait bobbing around in calm water. Hindsight is like that.

And lest you think I'm being too easy on Barnes I'm coming back to my bottom line again, and I freely admit my bias: Barnes' lack of experience may have been the factor that allowed a shocked and disoriented reaction, a mental fog inside whose banks a decision was made without access to the overall picture that many nautical miles in all types of challenging weather might have given him. The same lack of experience may have limited his ability to think of things such as rinsing out/displacing moisture in his starter/alternator and assuring an uncontaminated engine lubrication system to maximize his chances of getting the engine started and running, for example.

I'm a West Coast channel-hopper, and have ambitions of, among other cruising grounds, Baja California (need a bit of experience yet). I dream about Hawai'i, but I'll have a hella lot of miles under my keel before I start making serious plans for it.
s/y Elizabeth— Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." — G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 15-01-2007, 14:59   #80
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Sent you a message.

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Old 15-01-2007, 15:26   #81
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I have no idea what I would have done (but I don't own a boat, yet...) but I would echo a previous post by stating that I would never singlehand, let alone a solo around the world attempt. I'm just not that guy, and I don't imagine I ever would be. To each his own.

I'm not in a position to judge Ken's seamanship (or lack of) , but I do realize that many here are. I don't think any of you experinced sailors needed to "be there" to judge his actions. Juries, boards of review, protest meetings, all place blame without having "been there."

Not to stir up TWO hornets' nests (this thread has been bumpy sailing, as has the one re: proposed boat licensure), but I think this thread illustrates why there is some tendency for non-sailors and government to tend to want to create a license system for or otherwise regulate boaters.

I look at it sort of like mountain climbing. High potential for disaster if the weather turns bad. So, some places may require the posting of a bond prior to a climb, in the event of a rescue being needed. Some places may require proof of competency before they'll let you past basecamp. Others may require a guide. Some may do some combination of all three.

Makes sense to do it for climbing; and this thread would seem to support its application to boating, as well. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2007, 15:42   #82
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This is my first post here although I have been lurking since I heard about this discussion on Boaters. I've read this thread and I can say I have enjoyed it. Too bad they want to run Cavu off. I agree he sounds a little rough and opinionated but the way I read it, right from the start he was attacked by Kai and Kai seems to continue. Why?

Originally Posted by Kai Nui
Since this has become a discussion about the issue, instead of a string of personal attacks, and bragging rights. I will clarify my perspective a bit.
That sounds like a personal attack.

Originally Posted by Kai Nui
I am not so arogant as to believe that I can assess the situation better from the saloon in my boat, than Ken could from the cockpit of his.
No doubt in my mind, this statement is an attack.

Kai, the way I read it, you were the one that started the string of personal attacks and with this post, it seems you continue. As for assumptions, aren't you making assumptions by not knowing every variable? Or do you know everything?

Originally Posted by btrayfors
- He was rolled, losing both masts, staving in hatches, damaging steering and mechanical propulsion, electrical systems, etc.

- He suffered a life-threatening injury to his leg (cut to the bone)

- Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, HIS DREAM WAS GONE!
Why are so many here are making up stories. From what I understand on Capt. Barnes website, the U.S. Embassy reported Ken was fine with only a minor scratch on his leg. Is that the same as a life-threatening injury to his leg (cut to the bone)? During his ABC interview aboard the boat, Ken said he was sailing under his mizen. A week later the story changed. As for staving in hatches, I saw one 12" x 8" hatch had a broken dawg but otherwise it still worked fine. Is that the same as staving in hatches? Ken said, he didn't want to try to start the engine for fear of vibration, this is hard to believe. His circuit breaker panel shorted but are cabin lights and house systems necessary to get the boat home. As for, "in the blink of an eye, HIS DREAM WAS GONE", I don't understand this. With tugs on the way, why scuttle the boat?

I've been on a lot of forums. This discussion has been one of the more interesting. Cavu seems to have some very interesting stories and great troubleshooting information. I would love to hear more. I agree with Mudnut, he should start a thread on how to fix your boat after a disaster.

I suspect Kai muzzled him. Why? Chill out. I have to agree with a lot of others, Capt. Barnes bailed way too soon.
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Old 15-01-2007, 17:00   #83
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I'm just catching up on posts having been off for a while and find one thread closed by Andy, Radio University under fire (I have several of his threads printed to keep on-board) and CAVU given the steel boot. What is going on ?

As to this thread, I have been in the bad stuff with others and found each of us reacted differently. After surviving it, with CG assistance, some got off the boat and never got back on. Some learned from the ordeal and sailed on. I sailed on but I knew I was no longer interested in being a solo sailor or a circumnavigator. My romantic view of the ocean was replaced with a greater respect for the wind and sea. That was 30 years ago. We all have our limit.
I think Bill Trayfors got it right. The dream was lost. The ocean beat Ken. Not the first or the last. I hope he rebounds and gets on with things. It could have been worse. He could have lost his life.
While the tone of some posts was rough (I don't know how rough since this thread has apparently been edited), I think CAVU had a solid point.
Let me ask you, if you were in the deep stuff, who would you want on your disabled boat, or liferaft...CAVU or Ken ? I would go with long as he didn't decide to eat me when rations ran low.

This was one of the most thought provoking threads I have read on this BB in some time. Kai is tough and he argued his side of the issue well. I, at least, benefit from their discussion.

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Old 15-01-2007, 17:21   #84
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yep sorry David Lewis was a kiwi - late at night reading all this drivel makes a man make mistakes
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Old 15-01-2007, 17:26   #85
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CAVU or Ken ? I would go with long as he didn't decide to eat me when rations ran low.

I would sleep with one eye open if stuck on a boat with a hungry CAVU...No prisoners taken and no meals left unattended...
Life is sexually transmitted
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Old 15-01-2007, 17:28   #86
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The thing that is missing for me in this whole sorry story is some more detail regarding Ken Barne's preparations and experience prior to embarking on this voyage. His website really doesn't tell us much about that...

By the way, my comments earlier arguing that attempting self-rescue by sailing under jury rig would be the most responsible course of action one could take, were not meant to suggest that the actions Ken Barnes choose were necessarily irresponsible. It's just that I disagree, strongly, with any intimation that attempting to rescue yourself could be considered irresponsible.


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Old 15-01-2007, 17:36   #87
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Originally Posted by capt lar
I'm just catching up on posts having been off for a while and find one thread closed by Andy, Radio University under fire (I have several of his threads printed to keep on-board) and CAVU given the steel boot. What is going on ?

Welcome back, Larry. Yeah there's funny stuff going on here. I put it down to cabin fever. Nobody should stay up here in the wintertime. But that may not be it, even our cousins in the antipodes are antsy and I think it's summertime there. Maybe global warming will solve the problem.
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Old 15-01-2007, 18:59   #88
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Digging through some old copies of yachting mags for summat to do I found an interesting read about a virtually identical disaster which befell a chap called Ron Llewellyn a year or two back

Sailing a Bruce Roberts 36, 380 miles from Cape Horn on Lat 55 he hove to in 45kn + winds and "awesome" (his words) seas. Things got worse and later that night he was rolled through 360 deg.

With water well over the cabin sole and debris everywhere below decks, he got on deck to find the mast down, a hatch ripped off, the electrics were shorted out and the dinghy, which doubled as his liferaft, hanging over the side.

He had difficulty breathing (which he later realised was a panic attack). Never the less, he pumped out the boat with a manual pump, cleaned up below decks, got things basically sorted out some on deck and managed to make radio contact, via a relay, with the Chilean Navy.

Declining, when asked, to declare an emergency as yet he sought info on the nearest safe harbour. After some trouble he got the engine going and set course for safety. Later on, he managed to find the missing bits for the stove in the cabin and get a hot drink.

Later on, he passed on the nearest safe haven when warned that before he'd be able to leave again the yacht would have to be passed as seaworthy by the Chilean Navy so he motored on around the Horn eventually travelling 600nM under power with one night at anchor before arriving in port.

He went on to re-rig the yacht and continue his circumnavigation.

No two emergencies (at sea or anywhere else) are the same and just because this chap was able to do what he did doesn't mean Ken Barnes automatically could have done it but it does illustrate the way the another solo circumnavigator handled a very similar situation.
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Old 15-01-2007, 20:20   #89
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I have been reading this board for a couple of years, and posted very little. I read and learn. I also have seen the content and tone of this and many other sites deteriorate, especially in the last year. Why? Wish I knew. This list and Sailnet both seem to be tending toward personal buddy lists. Some of the people that made both of them very interesting because of their knowledge, and strong opinions, post rarely. It seems that when Jeff or Whoosh do post they are welcomed with open arms because they are missed. Why did they leave?

In the course of this thread we have gone from a news story, to what ifs, to pissing contests. I reread most of the posts tonight and I have to say Kai, that you picked a fight and then proceeded to get your ass kicked. Cavu is a man of strong opinions, just as you and many of the moderators of this site are. However, unless he was gross in something that was deleted, I did not see anything that he should be asked to leave for with the exception of his disagreement ( lets make that strong dissagreement) with some of the more avid posters here. I certainly hope that we don't have a case of choosing not to play with someone because they disagree with us.
Heaven forbid, this could become a Conservative/Liberal analogy and the Libs would lose!
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Old 15-01-2007, 22:37   #90
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OK Guy's, listen up. I am pretty steamed by some of the comments here. Firstly, us as the Mod/Admin team work Bloody hard behind the seen as VOLUNTEERS to keep this place that we all absolutley love, on track. If someone didn't, go take a look at some boards like L&A, Renegades and see just what places that have bad moderation can become. I am sick to death of being delt nasty inuendo's and I know many of the team are of the same opinion.
None of you saw nor will ever get to see the words PM'd to Kai Nui by this Mr CAVU guy. The comments made were totaly uncalled for. And then what makes it worse is that some of you then side up to his opinions without understanding one thing going on.
We as the Team want one main thing here. That ALL can participate in a "safe" environment. That no poster is ridiculed in anyway for their actions, experiance out on the water. That all can post and ask or answer questions no matter what experiance they have. That NO perosn is ever called names in anyway.
Please PLEASE I ask of you, think before you reply. We ARE NOT here to "Rule or dictate" on this board. We want one common goal of havign this a great place. Quite frankly, I have been hurt as to what is going on in the last few days. I am sick and tired of being insulted and I know many of the rest of the team are also being personaly insulted behind the scenes. If you guy's want this place to remain, then shape up or you won't have a team and this place will fall apart very quickly like other places have. I can gaurantee it.


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