He was on a mission, He made the bad decision when he entered turned the boat toward the Bahamas into shallow water against advice from the rally organizers. He had plenty of time to heave to, continue on and instead against advice and logic he chose to head for shore and shelter.
The point here is that it is being discussed is that he had done it at night
. All of us that were used to navigate at night without a plotter know that today we do navigation at night with a plotter that would not have attempted without one and I don't think this is speculation but a fact that will be recognized by all of us.
I am not talking about a risk passage in bad weather like the one that was attempted by Rule 62 Captain but about passages in good weather on less complicated or dangerous spots (difficult navigation stuff) that even so would only be attempted in the old days by daylight, at least by a prudent sailor.
It seems to me very unlikely that any sailor would have attempted a narrow and difficult passage at night without the accuracy of a GPS. For that it would be necessary that the Rule 62 Captain was not only imprudent but absolutely mad.
Even if we can do now, with a plotter, with a reasonable safety at night some passages that would be unreasonably dangerous without a GPS (and I am talking about difficult navigation not sailing through dangerous spots) all will agree that even so they would be even safer with a plotter at day light.
That is specially true to a passage that could, given the conditions, be unreasonable to make even at day light with a plotter, like the one that was made at night by Rule 62.
If he would have waited for the day he would have seen better the sea conditions and we do not know if he would have attempted that passage then or even if he had attempted it he would have been able to make it.
We only know that he had attempted it by night having has reference the boat position on his plotter. I guess that we can safely say that if he had not a plotter it would be almost certain that he would not have attempted that at night.
Nobody is saying that navigation with a plotter is unsafe than navigation without a plotter (quite the contrary), just that the blind confidence on a plotter is a dangerous thing. Our eyes are still the best navigation instrument and at night they work very badly.
That is what Jon is saying when using the word "enable" to refer to the role a plotter and blind confidence of a Captain on it had on that accident.