Originally Posted by Polux
Losing the mast was the best that could have happen to them: With a 70 knots wind
wall and sails
up, if the mast would not have broke they would capsize
I still don't understand why the Mayday or abandon ship: they cut the mast off, the hull
was sound and it seems odd new engines having a problem. Surely they had enough diesel
, they were near the coast on a seaworthy
boat with a big tankage.
It was reported by Johnstone that both engines were disabled with lines wrapped around the props...
There have been many hints dropped by some who have apparently spoken with those aboard, to the effect that there was a LOT
going on there beyond just a dismasting
, implying significant collateral damage... Given the potential violence of losing an 84' stick in such conditions, that wouldn't surprise me at all, and it would seem to be a minor miracle no one aboard was seriously hurt...
One of the things that scares me the most about boats of that size and power, is how heavily dependent they often are on hydraulics... I assume there were hydraulic lines run to the mast, powering something like the boom vang
, for instance... When the rig went over the side, such a line would have been broken, and all of a sudden you might have hydraulic fluid under pressure sprayed anywhere. As anyone who's ever had diesel fuel
or hydraulic fluid spilled on deck offshore
, it can turn any surface into a skating rink, and be a very dangerous and difficult situation to deal with. So, that's just one of the hypothetical situations they might have been dealing with...
I certainly think there can be legitimate and critical questions raised about the passage
plan, the suitability of such a vessel for such a passage
in winter, and so on - but I think it's a bit unfair to assume their decision to abandon was not justified. At this point, we simply don't know enough about what was really going on aboard RAINMAKER at that time... It's one thing to second-guess their decision to leave when they did, and so on, but another to doubt the legitimacy to bail once they'd lost
In any event, whether justified or not, the choice to abandon certainly does not surprise me... Not sure it's been confirmed yet, but a review of the owner's sailing resume strongly indicates this trip was likely his FIRST
offshore passage, ever. He'd certainly never experienced anything remotely close to those conditions while racing
his Swan 40 on and around Long Island Sound
, and there's no indication he'd ever done something like the Bermuda Race
in the one boat he'd owned prior to RAINMAKER... If there's one thing a venture capitalist worth hundreds of millions probably understands quite well, it's when to cut his losses ;-) Especially with his son aboard, it's not hard to imagine him getting on the satphone, and demanding to be taken off that freakin' thing NOW...
Just a hunch, but I'm doubting it was the 28-year-old paid skipper
who made the final decision to jump ship...
Only time will tell, of course, but at this point it seems increasingly likely that RAINMAKER may never be seen again... Over the time since she was left adrift, there have been some pretty horrendous conditions in that part of the North Atlantic, so perhaps their decision to get off when they did was the smart one, in the end...