It's amazing how critical people on this board without much information, and seemingly disregarding what information is given in the article to put blame on a 'stupid captain'. A couple of the comments that have irked me include:
"Why would the Captain take her out in force 5/6 winds?
I know that these aren't the worst but still not easy to sail in.
Could they not have waited for more calmer seas?"
This one isn't so bad, but the article clearly states that the Astrid was taking part in a Gathering Cruise
that was on its way to a classic boat festival and due to arrive that day in Kinsale. There was at least one other tall ship in the vicinity, as many of the crew were evacuated to that one. Additionally, these winds/waves are not usually dangerous for an ocean going vessel.
"In picture 3 of the article it appears the anchor
is still snuggly nestled on the bow."
This one's been addressed, as an anchor
is not always the solution.
"About your only hope in a situation like that is to have help nearby to give you a tow. even a small rib or two might have delayed the impact long enough for bigger power to arrive, but you're really at the mercy of the scene at that point."
Yep. They tried it to no avail. They were unable to safely pass a tow line to a larger vessel, as they were swept to the rocks too quickly. But they did try.
"Engine failure seems to foretell the end of these ships.... could it be they're really motor
boats? or is it the captain and crew dont have the experience to sail that type of vessel?"
They are sail boats that are trying to meet 21st Century schedules. While it is probably true that as a TRAINING vessel, this crew was not as experienced as they could have been, that does not mean that the Captain or professional crew were not up to the task. Remember, that in the age of sail before engines, many more vessels were lost
on lee shores. They usually didn't start blaming the crew (at least on merchant ships) unless there was gross misjudgment. There was a much higher acceptance for loss as there is today.
"This looks to me like a case of a skipper
who was primarily a motor boat captain rather than a sailor/square rig captain.
They were out of the tight confines of the harbor, and had room to sail, if they had a sail ready and crew able to handle it.
We all make mistakes
, and the trick is to learn from them. I think the lesson here is to have a sail to deploy if (when!) the engine fails."
First off, they probably struck their sails
to reduce windage as they were preparing to motor in to a harbor. I'm not sure which, if any, sails were set prior to the engine failing, but there were at least 4 set by the time she ran aground, and the youtube video of the incident shows them setting the main, and in the pictures it's easy to see that the fore lower tops'l is ready to set as well. On boats like this (and I have sailed a number of them), it takes a coordinated effort by many people to set the sails. They didn't do too bad, but it just wasn't enough. So, they obviously did have some sails ready to deploy and attempted to sail to safety
"I think you might have have as answered my question Evan. In looking at her configuration, couldn't Astrid have employed her aft missen and a jib
forward and sailed out of there? I am not trying to be critical, I am just wondering if she could have avoided the lee shore if : 1. She could get some cloth up quickly or 2. if the sails were already deployed and she was "motorsailing"."
Um...she's a brig. There is no mizzen sail. Additionally, with just her main and a jib, she wouldn't have had much force, and would have had a hell of a time keeping from being caught in irons. Furthermore, she had two headsails, a main stays'l, and the mains'l set before running aground (iirc from the video which I watched yesterday, she may have struck the mains'l prior to going aground, and eventually struck all the sails once aground, probably to prevent as much damage as possible and make the rescue
Ultimately, this was a very tragic loss of a tall ship. Luckily, nobody was killed, though. To defend the captain, when the engine quit, he tried to tow and sail the boat into safe water, but also had a boat full of what appears to be teenage trainees. Once it was clear that getting to safe water was not likely, he focused on getting them, and ultimately the whole crew, safely off the boat. This is foresight and good judgement, not incompetence. It was only about an hour from when they first had engine problems to when the boat was on the rocks and sinking. In that time, they were able to attempt two different means of saving the ship from going on the rocks, and then ultimately take measures to ensure the survival of the 30 people onboard. They called for help early, and there were no casualties. Captain and crew: success in a bad situation.