In case of the Warnow (NOT Warlow as the OP mentioned), I believe that the modifications made to that boat made it much less suitable to open water. The sides of the boat had been removed in a past life on inner waters, which makes it easy to have heavy water ingress. It is unknown what kind of pumping facilities were on board. But certainly, these people were very inexperienced.
The facts as they stand:
1. The boat got into serious trouble several days before it got lost
. It had to be rescued by the Scottish coast guard. This ordeal caused the majority of the people on board to step off and abandon the trip. Saturday 23rd March 2013 Yacht Warnow in difficulties
2. There was no experienced crew member
on board and there were no rescue
facilities save for a VHF radio
was done on a smart phone
4. The rigging
was heavy, made of wrought iron or something similar. This boat was never designed for sailing, and whoever put the rigging
up seems to have had very little knowledge of how to design it.
5. The idea for this trip was to sail to northern Norway
to see the Northern lights
. But they left in March, which means that they would never have reached Norway
to see the Northern lights
(unless they waited until the coming winter).
6. When news first broke that the boat MIGHT be missing, the people operating the facebook page, in Dutch, (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wa...00090096715167
) reacted as follows: "The media are whipping this into a frenzy. A complete and needless overreaction. A map was downloaded onto a smart phone
a couple of days ago, they are fine.". I was personally very irritated by this attitude, as the Scottish Coast Guard had been searching for the vessel for days, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds and people putting their lives at risk. If they were fine, why didn't their family
seem to think so? At the very least, an apology could have been made for causing such a stir. But of course, slowly it transpired they were not fine at all.
All of the above leads me to believe that the Warnow was sailed by a bunch of naive people who had no idea of what the sea can do, nor the kind of responsibility that they were taking on their backs.
It is very, very sad that this naivety has cost lives. But frankly, after having been rescued by the CG once, they should have known better. They didn't deserve to die, but they were victims of their own actions. It was most definitely not a freak accident
There could have been any number of causes as to why the Warnow sank, but I think there is a likelihood that the open sides of the boat combined with the low freeboard was an opportunity for taking on a lot of seawater, and that either pumping capacity was insufficient or the pumps failed. The vessel itself seemed sturdy enough, and was originally built to be used on open water.