Nicely said HVVega.
You might want to tell the owner of that fancy boat to buy the recent book, Black Wave
, that came out last year IIRC was about a family that was cruising on a large catamaran and the boat went aground while no one was on watch. The Silverwoods are damn lucky to have survived. Plenty of discussion on that particular stupidity over at Cruiser's Forum
From the book as found in one of the posts there:
"John took a GPS reading, looked at his chart and concluded they were about seven miles from Manuae. He set the sails and the autopilot for a path he believed would keep them well clear of the island.
They sat down to dinner but were interrupted by a noise. A pin that connects the boom to the main sail had broken. They worked on it for more than an hour before lowering the main and tying the boom in place. John figured he would repair it in the morning, in daylight.
As night settled in, and the kids gathered in the main salon to watch "Drop Dead Gorgeous," Jean went to a stateroom to watch "The Road to Perdition" on a laptop computer. She was worried the boat problems would make them late to Fiji. Friends were flying in to meet them there.
John came down and told her they would get to Fiji on schedule. He had the jib up and the engines running. It was about 7 p.m.
Then they heard scraping on the bottom of the boat."
This is a 55' catamaran... and they were about seven miles from an atoll. A 55' catamaran can cover seven miles in well under an hour in most conditions...less than 20 minutes in many cases, yet the idiots decided to go down below and watch movies?
BTW, the atoll, Manuae in western French Polynesia, the idiots ran aground on looks like this:
It is also a fairly well known hazard, and why they didn't plot a course that took them a safe distance away from it is beyond me. This is especially true given the age of the charts in the region. I try to stay at least a couple miles off of well known and marked hazards if possible-and this does not qualify as well-marked. I would give a mostly submerged atoll a very wide berth at night, say 30 miles or so, and kept a watch when reaching the point of closest approach.
While radar and such is nice to have, it can't make the boat change course when something unexpected pops up, and a lot of stuff just doesn't show up on radar at all. Also, on a night watch, you can often hear things before you can see them.