I just wanted to thank Smackdaddy and fryewe and the others who have pushed the thoughts on this sinking along in the face of some pretty hostile response from some forum members, and to thank Eric for some good answers to questions.
Some of those wanting to close the thread down think there is nothing to be learned. Why then are some of the most experienced people on the forum - whose who have sailed most and 'know' most - still think there is a need to learn from this incident?
Jim and others who have done this particular passage, Mexico
, all know that it is the longest passage, (or is St Helena - Caribbean) and often done reasonably early in the cruising life.
When I was doing it it gave me the heebie geebies. Right in about the middle of the passage the boat is 3,000nms from any mainland and still half that to some pin-prick of an island without marine facilities, even the closest shipping
lane is over 1,000nms away (China to Panama). Its the only time I have felt the real emensity of the earth. In the middle of a big, empty, vast ocean. I was at the wheel
(AP on) and just wondered what would happen if I fell over and broke my leg. The answer could well have been death from something so simple.
Fortunately the feeling left by the end of that watch, but the point is EVERYONE must feel it.
If everyone was lost
on Rebel Heart there would have been a Coronial (or other) investigation, but because, thankfully, everyone was saved the is no investigation except for the inquiring minds on some lame interweb forum. In my mind this thread is an excellent example of what we can do to educate the new people, the advanced sailors, and the ones who have been there done that... because none of us have 'been there' for everything.
The sick child, the family situation, and the voyage were difficulties enough without having to look at another situation. The decks.
In the dry climate of LA and San Diego
the minor leaking every time it rained would have appeared a small problem - "all boats leak". And the lack of good, deep, ocean passages for crew training
and boat "shakedown" - a term I hate - would have meant the deck
problem didn't show itself.
If we think that there was that much water
coming through a rotted deck
each day whilst on a broad reach (not close hauled) then those little leaks must have been numerous, or extensive.
In the "quarter" argument Eric avoided answering, directly, where EXACTLY was the water
ingress. Actually two part question, where was it you tried to fix, and, were there others. He did say at the deck hull
joins, but only the "quarter" not where on the quarter. (it opens a myriad of questions: was the water going through the deck there or further forward and flowing under the teak
above the ply to the quarter?) This isnt a criticism of him as he was probably getting more than exasperated at the line of questioning and didnt see the relevance.
If theres a small constant infow every time a wave comes on deck, and the knowledge that the deck is teak
on ply, one may deduce after 900 miles that the boat may not last the full 3,000 miles! And then when a big bang happened and the in-flow increased to 70 gallons per day one would really begin to cast their mind back on the integrity of the whole untested deck.
As I said, I had the heeby geebies out about there (on the Galapagos
-Marquesas run), but my boat was sound, Nicolle was loving it and no children on board.
So yes, I think there is a lot we have learned, a lot of conjecture that has been useful to have, a lot of food
for thought for everyone from those who circumnavigated, or blown many of the oceans to those who have not bought their boat yet, and to even those who can't sail, and those dreamers who enjoy reading to exercise the muscles of their imagination.
We must all imagine likely and unlikely scenarios so we maybe better equipped to handle them when we are at sea... even if our voyage is only off the coast by 2 miles.... remember that man killed just last week in Long Island Sound
on a 3 hour cruise
So, once again thanks to those who have usefully added to this thread, and to Eric for his input. I feel we maybe all just a little bit safer for it.