Unfortunately, this seems to be a case of the good ol' boy network covering their own's butt... 40+ Knots at night is not a safe and reasonable speed. Given the speed and maneuverability of most sailboats, even if the helmsman wasn't "drunk" there would have been NO WAY of them avoiding such a collision.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.