Regarding the Flicka that was in trouble off San Diego
I have posted elesewhere (My blog) a diatribe about how a good old boat is developing a bad reputation because of all the crazy record
setting solo nut jobs it attracts due to its relatively low cost and bluewater scantlings:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
Its a small boat, and it has limits - though its limits are not neccesarily what conventional wisdom says they are.
They are weatherly boats - IF sailed correctly.
They have an absolutely amazing amount of living and stowage space that is seamanlike and well thought out.
They have an exceptionally strong mast
. I climbed mine yesterday for the first time, and the difference between it and the mast
of a Catalina
22 I recently acsended....is stunning - and a Catalina
22 is a "bigger" boat.
For example - All my shrouds attachment points are through-bolted - I mean right through the damned mast with a bolt the size of my middle finger, which is big, because it gets a lot of exercise in LA traffic.
Flicka's are relatively dry boats - I've sailed a Contessa 26 in gale force conditions, and that boat, while quite stable, was WET.
Now on the otherhand....
I've had commercial
fishermen get seasick aboard Nomad - one guy who worked for years up in Oregon
, who claimed to "never get seasick" - Yea right....I make sure these folks sit to leward, and I stay close to the harbor for when they start puking thier guts up and begging for mercy - in 10 to 15 knots with a short, steep chop, especially reaching, Niel Armstrong himself will feed the dolphins
I "never got seasick" either - until I bought Nomad that is.
It takes me several days to fully adapt, but I'm fortunate: after 48 hours or so of sailing and rolly anchorages
, I'm more or less immune to seasickness, and can stop medicating myself - Cholorpenirimine works best for me BTW.
The boat is forgiving of big mistakes
, but it punishes small ones - as Ive already pointed out, you cant really sail her safely on a run in much above 20 knots with the main up - though I did develop a rig for broad reaching and controlled gybing that combines a simple figure 8 friction brake with the boomvang to make gybing much, much safer, easier, and frankly, its a hell of a lot of fun to slalom, zigzag, and do cut-backs across Santa Monica Bay aboard a giant surfboard:
I used to surf, remember?
But in LA the water
is cold and filthy and crowded with agro punks who get in fist fights and vandalize your car if you arent a "local".
The worst injuries Ive ever sustained were from surfing - not 10 years of skiing, or 5 years of autoracing. Not skateboarding in empty swimming pools as a kid, and not bicycle commuting. Not motorcycle commuting either.
SURFING - multiple head
injuries, cuts, and dislocated joints and such. But I'm comfortable swimming in rough water
, rip currents, and big breaking waves because of it.
Then I kept getting sick from the poisonous water around here - and that's what tore it - so I quit surfing here, and bought a boat so I can go somewhere with good surf, warm, clean water, and freindly locals.
Therefore, I'll be skipping Hawaii
The rig cost me less than $20 and I cant understand why ALL sailboats dont come rigged with something along these lines to control the most dangerous thing on the damed boat - wait - yes I do - its because most sailors spend too much time worring about how big an engine
they need to stay off of a lee shore, and too little about a much, much, much bigger threat to thier safety
, the BOOM.
So the old blind guy didnt respect the elements, and he didnt understand how to sail his boat.
Then stuff started going wrong, and he panicked, declared an "Emergency" via sat-phone to a freind, who called the USCG. The geezer must have given his buddy his position too, because the USCG had no trouble finding him, and in the photo
of the rescue
I saw, his boat looks to be foundering - though its hard to know from a still photo
, I've stowed at least 2000 lbs of additional gear
, and a black leather sex-swing in my boat, and she's still on her lines.
and now Pops wants to sue the USCG!
Look at the how he stowed his mainsail
after he broke his boom - it says everything about his seamanship:
Now look at how Satori's skipper
furlled his main:
Note also the way his working jib
is gasketed off to the upperlifeline, and left hanked on - So its off the deck
, and he can easily hoist it when he strikes the storm jib
And the article says the Flicka's (blind, solo, elderly) skipper
had "30 years of sailing experience"
Well, what kind of experience?
Where are his log-books?
What types of boats?
It was the same with the Sunderlands - "These kids
are experienced sailors" - and no one demands proof in the form of log books
Just how "experienced" can a 14 year old sailor be?
And assuming they were experienced, so what?
The real questions are
"How skilled are you?
"Do you have good judgement, especially under pressure?"
"Are you physically able to handle your boat alone, for weeks at a time, in offshore
"Do you understand ALL of your boat's critical systems and how to repair or work around them when they fail?" (and they WILL fail, and at the worst possible time)
"Do you understand the prevailing weather
and sea conditions along your proposed route
, and how to deal effectively with them?"
"Are you properly equipped and provisioned for your proposed itenerary?"
"do you know how to pilot and navigate, with both electronic and traditional methods, and do you practice both consistently?"
"Do you keep a detailed log so you can track things like maintence, breakdowns, navigation
data, and weather
conditions, including sail combinations and other important performance and safety
....and most importantly:
"Have you sailed the vessel you intend to take offshore
extensively - inshore- with all of its critical systems in place, and gradually built experience with it in a variety of conditions, so you know how it will perform, and what it and your limitations are?"
I'm still waiting for Oprah or Bryant Gumball to ask such questions when interviewing the glory seekers.
Read my rant, follow the links documenting Flicka foolishness and lack of preparation and seamanship, and realize that the size of your engine
or boat are the least important thing regarding keeping you "off of a lee shore".
Perhaps when my sabatical is over I'll write a book:
"Seaworthiness - The (foregotten) Bonehead Factor"