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Old 23-11-2007, 12:54   #1
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Newbie cruiser faces offshore challenges

This is an interesting story.

Dalton Williams, a retired USAF pilot/computer business owner falls in love with sailing, takes some excellent sailing courses, buys a good boat (a Morgan 43), takes nine months to thoroughly refit her, sails her from Florida to Virginia (some ICW, some outside) to join the 2002 Caribbean 1500, and finally heads offshore. Then the s&#t hits the fan, and two of his crew contemplate mutiny!

If you have the patience to read the entire log Ships Log, good on ya!

The most interesting part is his account of the 2002 Caribbean 1500 offshore passage Caribbean 1500 Rally .

Some notes:
  • My understanding is that all three of his offshore crew were volunteers that he had not met before. He was introduced to Gretchen, the lone female crew, through Gretchen had some sailing experience, and turned out to be the most reliable crew.
  • They planned to grill most of their dinners on the rail-mounted grill and eat in the cockpit.
  • A friend of mine was a participant in that same Rally, and reported that the 50 kt winds and 25'+ seas were challenging, but entirely manageable with triple-reefed main and staysail. He had an experienced crew on his Island Packet 350.
  • Williams notes many complaints about the Caribbean 1500 Rally. My experience in 2004 and 2005 was that, even if they were true then, none of those complaints apply now. Steve Black puts on a top rate event.
Actually, I really have to hand it to this guy. He doesn't get discouraged, in spite of all the woes that beset him, and goes on to cruise the Caribbean and have a wonderful time.
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Old 23-11-2007, 13:37   #2
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How do you explain to people that you are still better off in a boat that is floating and getting beaten up, than in a liferaft or attempting to get aboard another vessel or aircraft?

In my training I was taught that the last thing you ever want to have to do is abandon ship and that it is better to do every thing you possibly can do to avoid that...even risk ones life fighting fire or doing whatever below deck such as dewatering.

Is the notion of readily abandoning ship an idea some people have gotten from watching too many movies?

The solution might be during crew interviews to ask more "what if" questions to ascertain that you and your crew are compatible in adverse situations.

Life begins where land ends.
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Old 23-11-2007, 14:11   #3
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Quite often in these conditions the persons wanting off the boat are violently sea sick. Anything seems preferable to continuing the way they are. I have seen a grown man crying on deck because he was so sea sick. He was a junior engineer and it was his first voyage. I remember it to this day. Having had bouts of sea sickness in my first two years at sea I know how rotten you can feel. Trying to keep down dry soda crackers and water. We had drugs for motion sickness but never dispensed them as it was felt that the only way to become a sailor was to keep working and put up with the ribbing you got from your shipmates who, when seeing you turn green, would ask if you'd like a greasy pork chop. Eventually you'd overcome it. Like I said, it took me two years. For some one voyage was too much and they paid off the first opportunity they got. Without any tradition of discipline I can see how crew on a sailboat, suffering from sea sickness, might not agree with the skipper and demand to be "rescued".
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 23-11-2007, 20:30   #4
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Assuming that no one finishes after us that may make us the longest finish ever for the 1500! {laughing}

Our small group leaving Bermuda for the Virgin Islands was able to support to another boat that lost it's rudder. While we staid in radio contact, another boat in the group that was closeer to the damaged boat met up with them and helped them rig a line to steer the rudder. Cruisers helping cruisers sailing together, I think, is a much better way to make a passage!

I guess it has gotten better?
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