What happened in San Diego recently really shocked us. Ten people boarded a yacht for a charity outing – a treat for a child with special needs. Seven were from one non-English-speaking family. In what followed, two from that family died.
Not long after setting off under motor, a couple ashore took a photo of the boat because it looked so unusual – badly weighed down in the stern.
With all the passengers crowded around him in the cockpit, the skipper unfurled the headsail. It then appears a gust or two of wind (and the wind wasn’t strong that day) was enough to flatten the boat, which immediately turned upside down.
Surrounding craft rushed to pull everyone out of the water. Sadly, though, two people could not be revived.
When asked, the skipper insisted that the water ballast had been filled and the swing keel fixed before setting out. He also claimed that the boat was not overloaded.
If we tell you that it was a MacGregor 26 and you look at the photo, there seem to be many reasons to doubt his word.
The skipper took responsibility for all 10 lives.
When we climb aboard our boat to go for a sail at the weekend, we don’t think of it as a matter of life and death. But, to quote the slogan of a recent NSW Maritime safety campaign:
“You’re the skipper. You’re responsible.”
1. An-Tiki has arrived!
After 66 days at sea the raft An-Tiki made land on 6 April. But not in the Bahamas as was originally planned.
Due to time constraints, the adventurers, led by 85 year old Anthony Smith, reached St Maarten, 2,500km south west of the Bahamas.
When we wrote about the voyage in January we had no idea whether the raft would cope with the wind and weather expected in an Atlantic crossing. In fact, 30 knots was the strongest wind recorded.
The UK Daily Telegraph has collected an interesting batch of statistics from the adventurers – e.g. seeing only eight ships during the voyage of 2,763 miles.
2. A weighty matter
It was interesting to read that the US Coast Guard has amended the Assumed Average Weight per Person (AAWPP) from 160lbs to 185lbs (72.5kg to 84kg). Accordingly, from 1 December 2011 passenger vessels must comply with new stability criteria based on the higher weight.
We can’t say whether this change in regulations would have made a difference to the sailboat accident in this week’s tip.
In Australia in recent months we’ve seen thin airline passengers complaining that they have to pay for ‘excess’ baggage. They want heavy people to pay more for their seats!
In their own words: TRISTAN JONES
A small craft in an ocean is, or should be,
a benevolent dictatorship.
How true! But a great deal of what Tristan Jones wrote was actually created by his imagination!
For instance, Tristan Jones said he was born on 8 May 1924 on his father’s tramp steamer off Tristan da Cunha. In fact, he was born Arthur Jones in 1929 in Liverpool, England. But by blood he was a Welshman.
Having taught himself to sail in middle age, Tristan became a circumnavigator and a great storyteller. He sailed many miles single-handed, but not as many as claimed in his stories!
As well as reinventing his past, he embellished his adventures as his imagination dictated. Between 1977 and his death he wrote 16 books including The Incredible Journey and Saga of a Wayward Sailor.
Tristan died on 21 June 1995 in Thailand.
Some fans have set up a website in his memory.