LIVE TESTIMONY at the U.S. Coast Guard hearings into the loss of HMS Bounty is wrapping up this week. That and the recent publication of an excellent investigative story in Outside magazine at last make it possible to hazard some answers to the questions that have been nagging me about the tall ship's tragic demise in Hurricane Sandy last October. What seems painfully clear is that Bounty's skipper, Robin Walbridge, bears much of the responsibility for what happened. In that he died with his ship, he has paid a steep price for his culpability. But still he has escaped having to answer to the family of crew member Claudene Christian, who was also lost with the ship, and to the other Bounty crew members whose lives he endangered. Something about that pisses me off. But at the same time, as skipper of a bluewater boat who is sometimes responsible for the lives of others, I cannot help but sympathize with the man.
News & Views
I'M NOT TOO UNHAPPY about the fact that I'll be spending next week at the Miami International Boat Show (you can look for reports right here, of course), but if I wasn't, I'm thinking I might be in Portsmouth, Virginia, instead. I've been very interested in the many questions raised by the sinking of HMS Bounty during Hurricane Sandy last fall--particularly why she went to sea when she did, and why she was taking on so much water--and I'm hoping the official U.S. Coast Guard investigation into the incident will ultimately provide some answers. The Coasties are making an important part of the process public at formal hearings, which are scheduled to run nine days, starting February 12 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel at 425 Water Street.
IT'S JUST his 15th lifeboat rescue... is how the Rolling Stones might put it. Glenn Crawley of Newquay, Cornwall, was up to his old tricks last week, and the local volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew once again scrambled to come to his aid. Crawley, who has been nicknamed Captain Calamity since 2007, when he was once rescued four times in four hours, actually refused assistance this time and subsequently capsized his beach cat in the surf while trying to sail ashore. Check out the viddy up there and you'll see the lifeboat crew circling like vultures as he drags himself and his boat ashore.
BARRING THE UNFORSEEN, this is the face of the next winner of the Vendee Globe, Francois Gabart, who should reach Les Sables d'Olonne aboard MACIF very early Sunday morning, thus setting a new race record of 77 days, give or take a few hours. I hope you've been following this one, as it's really been a doozy. For a significant portion of the race Gabart and his (now) second-place competitor, Armel Le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire, were more or less in sight of each other, and at several different points different sailors broke the record for miles covered in 24 hours by a singlehanded monohull (it's now up to 545, which frankly I find just staggering).
IT WASN'T SO LONG AGO that liferaft survival-drift stories were fairly common. I personally know two people who spent more the 60 days in rafts (Steve Callahan and Bill Butler) and have read numerous accounts of similar experiences. Since the advent of reliable EPIRBs, however, it is now unusual for sailors abandoning yachts to spend more than a few hours adrift before getting picked up by someone. Hence all the fuss concerning Alain Delord, a 63-year-old French singlehander who was rescued from a raft 500 miles southwest of Tasmania late Sunday after spending three days adrift.
SO WHAT do YOU think? Is that ugly box of a houseboat you see there--formerly the home of Fane Lozman, a wealthy South Florida software developer--worthy of the name "vessel"??? I'm guessing a large number of you will say such an abomination is an insult to the very concept of boat. Indeed, even as houses go, it is (or was) pretty damn ugly.
"The Supremes" (as we used to call them in law school) ruled on Tuesday that Lozman's home was not a "vessel" subject to federal admiralty jurisdiction because a) it had no rudder or steering; b) it had a rectangular hull; c) it could not generate or store electricity onboard; and d) it had a "nonmaritime" interior with windows and doors that were not watertight.
This sad bit of video, posted on YouTube by Yachting World just a few days ago, documents the last few moments of the life of Ciao, a Sweden Yacht 45 that sank in the Indian Ocean back in September during the current World ARC rally. Ciao and her owners, Srecko and Olga Pust of Slovenia, were en route from Indonesia to Cocos Keeling when the boat hit a USO (unidentified submerged object) about 40 miles short of her destination. Ciao's rudder was badly damaged and she quickly started taking on water.
Page 2 of 27
Offshore Passage Opportunities
Attainable Adventure Cruising
Blue Planet Times
Father & Son Sailing
Cruising Sailor's BB
Good Old Boat
North American Sailor
Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell
Onboard with Mark Corke
All Content © 2011-12 Wavetrain - All Rights Reserved Site Design By FortySix Web