Lets' start with Thank You for that thoughtful comment! I do appreciate the consideration which inspired your words. And, I surely can't argue that what you said is absolutely acurate.
What I want to result from this is not to hide or keep this all to myself. Evelyn is more along those lines than I have ever been, but time should resolve that, theoretically.
I do want to be useful toward any improvement(s) which might be possible of deep sea rescues. The pure entertainment aspect of our story is not my goal. Though I well understand, as you also outlined, the lure of this to the majority of people. Even people without any marine experience are drawn to the stories of near death experiences. And that's just how it is.
In order to effect any improvements, I strongly suspect, I somewhat have to parlay the entertainment lure, toward the issues which could be improved.
You said at the beginning of your comment that a Dr. swam from a lifeboat to a freighter: "I've only ever met one person who has swum from a lifeboat to a freighter...."
Well, I'm not sure what you might have meant to specifically describe there, because I doubt he actually swam FROM a LIFEBOAT...?
But, the inclusion of a lifeboat into the rescue process would have been greatly appreciated by me.
Because I did not swim from a lifeboat to a tanker, or from the water to a lifeboat.
I swam from a trashed Gulfstar to a tanker; and in the last possible second, after over 3 hours of sinking below the waves, and miraculously rising into the air, again and again and again, I managed to make it to a life bouy, thrown from that tanker, and was pulled up to their deck from that.
The lifeboat(s) never left the deck.
Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to say that everyone wants to talk to you for their entertainment. I believe everyone wants to talk to you because you can answer questions that relate to their deep seeded fears.
As for my ER doctor acquaintance, I should have been more precise with my language. Indeed it was a liferaft
that he swam from, not a lifeboat.
. I'll relate the short version of his story here:
He was crossing the pacific single-handed to Hawaii on a well found steel sailboat (can't recall the rig or specifics). During the night he felt a sudden thump and rushed on deck. He couldn't see anything despite good lighting but he figured he had hit something. Quickly he realised he was taking on water fast. He had "several" bilge pumps and an engine driven pump but quickly was loosing ground with the water. It was about 2hours of searching for the leak (which he underscores is very hard to do once there is water IN the bilge) when he realized that he was going to have to abandon ship.
He was about 2-3 days sail from Hawaii and he readied his gear and raft, activated his epirb and continued trying to find/fix the leak. He truely did step up
to his life raft when the decks were awash.
After a couple hours a C-130 came overhead and he radioed them by VHF. They told him that a ship was being re-directed to him and should be there soon. He waited in the raft for about 18hrs and the ship arrived. It had a hell of a time finding him in 6-8ft seas but the C-130 returned and was able to relay radio messages. For some reason he wasn't able to radio the ship directly, but he could radio the Coast Guard C-130 and they could relay.
The plan was to have the ship maneuver to hit his raft. The plan was to hit him forward of amidships of the freighter and a jacob's ladder was at or just aft of amidships. This is the part when he got scared as he realized that if the ship ran him over, he was toast, and if he contacted after the ladder, he would be in the prop and would be shark-kibble.
As the ship drew near, since he was unable to maneuver the inflatable raft, he took a gamble that he had to get to the jacob's ladder and swam from his raft to the ship, aiming to contact the hull about 1/3 from the bow, which he did. He slid along it until the ladder reached him, and climbed up. He said he wasn't scared during the sinking, or in the raft, but when he had to leave the raft and swim to the ship, he wasn't sure he would make it.
He did make it, and is still sailing. Never figured out what hit him, but it just goes to show that sometimes even the best preps (steel boat and engine-driven pump) can't stave off disaster. Sounds like his handheld VHF and Epirbs were lifesavers.
PS I wonder how much better off he would be with a maneuverable life-boat like the Portland Pudgy. Seems like you could intercept a nearly stationary ship under your own power, and multiple attempts could be made.