Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
Thanked 124 Times in 112 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue
Did the folks saying they should have stayed with the boat miss this part of the account?
The boat was heading in a north, north east direction, the opposite of where we wanted to go, we were over 600 nautical miles from Mindelo, our departure point and that would have been against wind and waves. The Canaries would have been our closest landfall, but it was nearly 1300 miles away and we were only doing 1.5 knots, a very long time to get there.
I have never been on a boat that lost a rudder. I hope I never will. But I've met people who have, including two guys who sailed 150 miles back to land using a drogue. It's pretty far from a cakewalk and doubtful they would have been able to keep a normal watch schedule.
Even if they were to better their boat speed and still hold a fairly stead course they would be adding, what, two weeks to a passage through an area with few options for rescue?
Whoever said the skipper made the correct call by putting life before property was absolutely right. I'm glad the weather was calm. Effecting a rescue in good conditions kept everyone safe.
I think I have to put myself in the don't leave the boat camp. If it were my wife and I, I would imagine we would make an effort to get somewhere and downwind would be the direction to go. I have to think you could manage two plus knots in a fairly controlled manner, at least close enough to get towed in. You mention that it would take two extra weeks -- so? When you leave on a passage you typically have lots of food onboard. As for water, this is a part of the ocean where afternoon showers happen pretty often. The comfort level might go down, but survival is not an issue.
Who said there were few options for rescue? This is a pretty busy piece of ocean compared to some. I think the couple came to feel overwhelmed and I certainly can understand how this can happen. But an overlooked part of passage-making is psychological preparedness, how resilient are you when it all hits the fan. I am not sure how you assess this and I am not sure how you improve it. Note, that I am not saying you can't improve in this regard, just not sure how.
After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.