The consensus on the Wooden Boat Forum, where one of the people has met the “Master Mariner”, is that this article is complete horse pucky. From what I’ve seen of the structure around the engine in the repowering pictures and gleaned in general, it smells that way to me.
What a pathetic embarrassment that 'article' is... The single "expert" the writer bothers to identify seems an ignorant tool, appearing to believe any ballasted yacht should be considered a "lead mine"... Here's the post you allude to regarding the "lifelong bluewater sailor" cited:
To say I'm aghast at what that guy has said in a national paper would be a total understatement. He was a total sailing noob when I met him in the 90's, so I don't know where this' lifelong blue water sailor', 'master mariner' bull $%#@ comes from. Every boat with a 40% > thereabouts ballast ratio is unsafe? is going to sink? Well hello, checked the beneteau ballast ratio lately pal? Just ludicrous.
The ONLY reference I can find anywhere to this farmer/one-term mayor/lifelong bluewater sailor Russ Rimmington is an announcement he made almost a decade ago on some forum, that he had purchased an old 40' Albert Strange design that he was planning to rebuild after the completion of a circumnavigation aboard a different woodie... NOTHING since, I'll bet that boat still sits in this shed on his farm... One can only wonder what sort of ballast SHEILA II possessed, that prevents her from being classified as a "lead mine"...
Nina, the 85-year-old American schooner presumed sunk in the Tasman with seven aboard, was unseaworthy and sailed by a traditionalist skipper who refused to have "gadgets" aboard, experts familiar with the boat say.
It had no long-range (SSB) radio and it appears its emergency locator beacon (Epirb) was not switched on.
Well, as the "expert" familiar with NINA is the owner of a 64' Sundeer, one can only imagine what his attitude towards the necessity of certain 'gadgets' might be... (grin)
Funny, the contemporary attitude seems to be moving toward sat phones as a legitimate replacement/alternative to SSB, but now the decision by Dyche to carry a sat phone & SPOT, and do without HF radio, is to be considered an example of NINA being "low on technology", huh? YCMTSU...
Really unfortunate, that many out there will consider this sort of second-guessing from a writer obviously lacking much familiarity with offshore sailing as being somehow authoritative...