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Old 05-11-2013
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Re: Another America’s Cup entry destroyed

Whether it's a sail boat, America's Cup yacht, commercial fishing boat, tug boat or mega-yacht; if you don't take the job, someone else will. Period. If it's your profession and you have a family to support, you will quickly be black-listed if you seek only the perfect boats. It doesn't matter whether you are cook or captain; there are hundreds of folks out there who will gladly take your position, never mind the prestige of the America's Cup.
I took a tug and barge from St. Thomas to St. Barths (and back) in the days before GPS without a even a functioning compass or radio. When I wanted a shower, all I had to do was go down into the engine room and stand under the pin holes around the waterline to get a great saltwater stream. Steering by the stars is not a very good navigational method, by the way. We all knew the risks, but we needed the work, so we shut up and did the job.
I agree with those above that it seems we are going backwards on safety at the moment, but imagine being master of the first ULCC and finding that once the water under the keel gets shallow enough (somewhere around 70 feet, if I remember correctly and a draft of 125 feet), the vessel becomes completely unresponsive to the helm. Surpise! And dangerous!
When the Bounty was lost (a monohull I believe) many felt that something should be done. The company has been strangely silent; perhaps the captain was given little choice on when the boat needed to be in Florida?
These cat sailors are venturing into uncharted waters, so to speak, and errors, some unfortunately fatal, must be expected. But in time, as with every other innovation, understanding and practice will lead to grand advances in equipment, knowledge and safety.
Sailing is still the safest sport, I believe. It is certainly much safer than the average American's commute each and every day.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.

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