I agree that most sailboats don't like to go in reverse. Their rudders are like barn doors that want to jam over one way or another, and they're hard to move once in that position. But the fact remains you should be able to move it.
As to engine kill systems, if a person is smart, they have a FireBoy or some other system in their engine room, and these can be fired manually with the flip of a switch, flooding the engine compartment with fire suppressing gas which will choke an engine and shut off the fuel in just a second or two. If they don't have a fire suppression system, they're already borrowing trouble.
There is absolutely nothing like a fire at sea to ruin your whole day.
Anyway, I'm not quite as grumpy this morning--but I still don't see any humor in that boat rocketing around backwards in a packed harbor. I hope, for the record, that someone got the owner/helmsman/captain and sprayed him liberally with a can of Texas Whupass when the incident was over.
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