George had no insurance on the boat. It would have never passed survey. As more and more details are coming in on this George made every know error in seamanship. First he never did a shake down cruise. He never sailed this boat since he owned it. It was towed to the Marnia when he bought it. For 5 years it only left the dock less than a handful of times and all except one on the motor. Second, he lost his electronics 6 hours into the sail. We told him to turn back to fix them before continuing on. He refused. His damm South American macho BS got in the way. Here are the rest of the errors.
Knew all the tanks were bad both fuel and water. One water tank was inoperable. Never polished the fuel before leaving.
Unproven sailplan. All the rigging and running rigging was re-invented on this boat.
Electrical wiring.. Each bulb, equipment or anything electrical had its own wire run. While it sounds grand, it wasn't done properly and we told him so.
Engine - sat for over 8 years. He ran it a few times but never for any length of time. Had a few problems with it and fixed what was needed but from the blog it let him down. He had every known spare except a muffler hose for that engine.
His mainsail shouldn't have came apart like it did. It was restitched and like new. Also, he should have been able to reef it in any wind direction being a furling mainsail. I am puzzled by this. George, having never sailed this boat and unfamiliar with a roller furling mainsail he made a huge error.
The boat or George himself wasn't ready for such a voyage. But one cannot argue with a man when his mind is made up. He thought it would be like his Coconut Milk Run in the Pacific where he took a Coastal Cruiser Catalina 38. The Atlantic is different especially the North Atlantic.
Some more thoughts. Well I might belittle George, first and foremost he was a true friend. He and I went sailing on my boat a few times and I went twice on his, both times motoring; one to get his boat out of dry dock after a 4 month refit on deck and hull and another to the sandbar. I have seen this boat go from a total waste to it last state of near completion. He was a very handy man with considerable boat craftsman skills. When ever I needed a part he always had it on his boat. In someways he was better than West Marine. His waterline was a foot or two lower by the amount of tools and spare parts. He help me a few times to over come problems that I faced on my own boat. In his own right he was an able body seaman. How many can say they had over 10,000 miles of sea time, all of cruising the Pacific in a Catalina to boot. Most of it was single handle or with an Admiral who knew almost nothing about sailing.
This a tragedy that hurts me to the core. For those of us that dream of bluewater sailing, armchair with other sailors blogs there are many lessons learned here. The man had considerable seamanship, more than most beginner cruisers. He had a solid made, reputable bluewater cruising boat that is made to take the world oceans. However, as one can see judgement and boat came together to create such a disaster when mother nature doesn't play by the rules. Georges judgement began to fail when the cut the lines at all cost mentality started to corrupt his thought process. He worked on this boat for 5 years with set back after set back on getting systems right. We saw a change in his mood and thoughts about 6 moths ago. He set a date to cut the lines and by golly "Damm the torpedo's full speed ahead" he did. He lived on the hook, just outside the marina, for about 2 months after his date to finish the boat. It wasn't ready. We told him it wasn't ready. Go cruising in the Bahamas for 2 months or go up the East Coast to shake out the boat. He said no, for he was trying to beat the weather Gods before Hurricane season to cross the Atlantic to Spain, down to the Verde Islands to get to Brazil before winter. Put as we know the weather on the East Coast has been the weirdest on record with very cold wx to the NE, to storm after storm hitting everyday since April the entire east coast. All the cruisers have been complaining about what a horrible winter it was in the Bahama/Turks chain. As they made the annual Pilgrimage up the East Coast the rain, thunderstorms, and windy conditions made everyone hunker down vs cruising. George saw all this and figure the Atlantic crossing was better than what we proposed. In some ways it was as I was flying back and forth to Europe and saw the weather below. Most of the time everything east of 40 W past Bermuda was looking pretty good. Just had to get there.
So the bottom-line is here is man who had the knowledge with a true bluewater boat failed. Failed due to judgement, pride and dignity getting in the way of sound seamanship. Both the man and the boat failed because neither were properly prepared.
Catalina 445, Hull #90