I believe that the captain's comments about "chasing hurricanes" had little to do with this case. First of all, he wasn't chasing Sandy. Rather, he was heading into her.
No doubt when making the "chasing" remarks, the captain was talking about sailing in behind a hurricane
to catch the S and SE quadrant winds (in the northern hemisphere) where one would expect strong westerly and southwesterly winds. I'm sure the was NOT talking about sailing into the northerly quadrants of a hurricane, especially not the NE where the winds are strongest.
Yet, that is exactly what he did here.
It would appear from his initial statements and sailings after leaving New London CT that his plan was to get way east -- outside the path of Sandy. Somehow and for some unknown reason, he turned westward, sailing directly into the path of the largest hurricane to hit the East Coast
in many years.
Why he did this, i.e., turned to the west, is the big unknown to me.
And, of course, why he sailed at all in expected hurricane conditions -- in that boat in that condition with that crew -- is the key question underlying all which followed.
The comments about ships at sea being safest in a hurricane has absolutely no relevance here. Yes, for big ships with strong propulsion
systems and good speed with plenty of time to avoid the worst conditions this makes sense in many situations.
But for a leaky 18th century design with known structural problems and novice
crew -- especially in some of the most critical positions -- the statements about "safest at sea" are pure nonsense.
As one master shipwright familiar with the Bounty said, "just getting across the harbor to the fuel dock
would have been a major voyage for that boat".