Originally Posted by Tx J
I agree Mr. Rorke is a nice guy and probably a pretty good skipper
, even obtaining additional crew for a long passage
beyond the watchkeeping range of he and his wife.
However, the choice to be 900 miles NE of Bermuda
in early-mid April aboard what is still a small boat is not a reasonable choice. Even the USCG picket cutters on ocean stations in that neighborhood years ago got their tails regularly kicked out there.
With today's incredible weather
information freely available to anyone with an internet
connection, and given this particular year's very strong and frequent WX systems marching across the continent every few days, and oddly enough, continuing on into the North Atlantic ocean
itself clear to Europe
(/snark), embarking on the chosen route
just wasn't a very good decision. Inherently sound vessel or not.
Most likely another "schedule driven" decision, like so many before, that end not very well. You just can't mess with Mama Nature, nor her inscrutable timetable (note to self: do not trot out old PMS joke here or you'll get skinned alive...
Has anyone yet heard of a precise
location given of the sinking? Initial reports cited 800 miles east of Newfoundland
, which was apparently grossly off the mark... The generally cited "800 miles NE of Bermuda" might still be very vague, and would seem to place them a bit further north than one might expect on a passage
from Provo to the Azores
Easy to say in hindsight, especially after a winter and spring as volatile as this one has been, but looking at the pilot charts
and Cornell's CRUISING ROUTES, they really weren't sailing THAT
far out of season for that passage... Cornell endorses the route
from the Antilles up to Bermuda
in April, and cites May-June as the most favorable time for heading to the Azores
, so they were really only outside of the conventional window by a week or two, no? Sure, that's a bit earlier than I might prefer to make that trip - especially this year - but it's not like they were leaving Hawaii
for CA on a San Juan
24 in March, or NY for Tortola in January on an unproven prototype multihull
:-) And, I've seen no reference to their having stopped in Bermuda, which would seem to indicate all was going well, and they'd had a favorable passage thus far...
Bottom line, of course, is that a 50-footer should be able to withstand the "battering of 40 MPH winds" offshore
... Perhaps they were in or near the Stream, however, that's why it would be interesting to know with more exactitude where they really were...
Still, much of this one is more than a bit hard to fathom... Several published reports have cited that the boat was last surveyed in 2007, which would indicate they purchased it without a survey
. That might be a possible reason for the lack of insurance
, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, and concede the date of the most recent survey
might be in error. Still, the decision to carry out the rudder
replacement with the boat in the water
, without at least a short haul for a more thorough inspection
or survey - especially given they were aware that the failed rudder
had been "worked on... after clipping a rock" - is pretty hard to justify...
Reading through the Loss of Rudder saga, they stuck me as the sort of cruisers who were unprepared for the sort of major expense that can suddenly arise while out there, and might have been cutting some corners to get it done on the cheap
... And the fact that he didn't even know the composition of the boat's rudder post until the broken stub was removed, certainly points to a boatowner of lesser experience, than of greater... :-)
I hope these folks truly realize how lucky they are to be alive, most folks are being plucked off the decks of their still-floating yachts out there these days... The ship handling by the Master of the TILDA KOSAN had to have been extraordinary, to maneuver a vessel of that size alongside a life raft, in those conditions... Offshore
abandonments and rescues of late almost seem to have become routine, there was an awful lot that easily could have gone wrong with this one...