Originally Posted by foxglove
The lesson I am re-learning from this sad story is one of the first adages I heard as a sailor; "If in doubt - stay out".
The guy was trying to escape the coastal high seas. He may have done it for the comfort of his grandson. I've been guilty of making a poor decision that I wouldn't have made if I were alone. But with a scared, sick crew, you feel the pressure to make them feel safe.
You're right. The harbour is a powerful lure on the Great Lakes, because it is (usually) free of obstructions around here and is frequently tantalizingly close. But my still-developing instinct on the subject makes me wary of the shore, and I would rather clean up puke from the bilges than blood from the faces of crew because I made for shore in bad or unfamiliar situations. Away from the coast is the best option for the unsure skipper, and it's why the skipper gets to make those sort of calls.