Reading those details again emphasizes in my mind how dangerous a big powerful sailboat can be in stormy conditions.
This CMB 66 carries over 2000 sq ft of plain sail area and the boom is 25 ft long. There is a tremendous amount of power
in those sails
and while they can be completely docile most of the time, even in strong weather
if well controlled, things can get out of hand in an instant, as seen in this occurrence. The owner and his wife were fatally injured by the flogging mainsheet while trying to reef. The crew had performed this several times previously on that voyage, yet still it went wrong. Somehow when they came up into the wind
this time the mainsheet was not sufficiently pulled in to prevent the flogging.
That is a BIG boat and that flogging main is capable of instant death. Even on my small 43' a wildly swinging mainsheet can cause a serious injury. This happened last year when my very experienced mainsheet trimmer was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe cut on the chin when the mainsheet hit him in the back and threw him to the deck
during a gybe. By comparison we have only 843sqft of sail area and a main boom of 13 ft and that was in 20 knots of wind
, not 35.
These days more people have money
and are able to buy fantastic yachts, often ones which I would consider BIG. I sailed on a few boats over 60 feet and I often wondered how those sails
could be managed by shorthanded crew in heavy conditions. Then we hear of people new to sailing who are considering 55-65ft catamarans. OMG, what could go wrong there?
It is important to remember that when we go to sea we are playing for keeps and a big boat carries deadly force. Immense respect is due.