Join Date: Jun 2008
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Re: Mutiny at Dawn - Transpac Race 2013
I've only been sailing for a few years and crewing on a local j105 for just this summer only, but FWIW, here is my take:
"Harry" was in way over his head. He was inexperienced in both sailing and skippering. He had zero ability to manage either his boat or his crew. This was obviously apparent to the more experienced crew that turned him down before RD and Jake enlisted. However, these two gents did not have the experience under their belt to realize that Harry was incompetent.
From what I've been reading, the Transpac race is skippered and crewed by best of the best with only dedicated racing boats specifically built and outfitted for the task. Aquarius was a fish out of water and should not have been in the race from the start. That was all Harry's doing. You don't race with your 90 yo mother on board. Sorry. A three hour tour around the Del Boca Vista harbor, yes. Racing, no.
The hell with chain of command and law of the sea and NOR's or whatever. This isn't the Navy and this boat didn't belong in a race the way it was being run. Those rules do not apply. RD and Jake sensed disaster it but it was only confirmed after they had already departed. They had every right to compel Harry to either turn around or make it safely to the closest port. They were misled from the start. Add to that the possibility that you may run out of water then they had all the more reason to do what they did.
Frankly, I give them credit for at least trying to stay in the race and continuing on with the hope that they would be penalized rather than disqualified to actually finish the race, ala the movie Cool Runnings when they carried the bobsled over the finish line or when a hurt marathoner walks across the finish line as the sun is setting and everyone else has gone home.
They did what they could to urge the skipper to alter his plans, including asking for help from the race organizers, CG and the US Navy. But RD and Jake only resorted to physical force when it was being used on them.
If I get were to get into a car as a passenger and realize the driver was drunk, I wouldn't sit quietly and wait till we got to where we were going. Harry was simply incompetent and once I realized I had indeed put my life in his inept hands I would have tried to do all that was legally (by US law) and morally right to remedy the situation.
Chef and Sal, you guys are racers. But this boat and its crew were not. At least not by the standards you judge them by. I can put racing decals and numbers on a '78 chevy nova and enter it into the daytona 500, if they let me, but I'm no race car driver and a nova is no race car. Simply put, you guys are professional racers, the transpac is a professional race and Harry had no business being in that race and misrepresenting himself and his boat. I'm glad that races like these are open to amateurs. But if you are one, you better represent yourself as such and make it clear to the crew who are putting their lives in your hands.