Am I an SOB? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 04-11-2015 Thread Starter
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Am I an SOB?

We are currently cruising in some very remote places with a small, informal 'fleet' of similar boats. One boat, on their way to join our fleet, was struck by lightning at 0500 four days ago. Their engine died and could not be restarted, their genset wouldn't charge, all of their instruments were dead but their cell phone, handheld VHF and their computer still worked. The wind had died to calm and a strong current was carrying them away from where we were anchored. We pulled up our anchor and went to give them any help we could, even tow them if that was required. However, when we arrived on the scene, the wind had picked up and they were able to make it to the anchorage under sail. Another boat used their dinghy as a yaw boat to get them to a good spot to drop their anchor. They were not hurt but they were exhausted and emotionally drained - they needed rest so we suggest they not try to fix anything right then but rather take the rest of the day off, sleep, get a good meal (one of the other cruisers in our fleet brought over to them a large dish of hot pasta and sauce) and we'd help them evaluate everything the following morning.

A small army of us guys showed up the next morning to try to assess the damage. We were able to get the main engine running but neither alternator (the main engine has two alternators) would charge. We also worked on getting the instruments working but to no avail - even though all the masthead components appeared to not have been damaged. We spent most of the day working on it but didn't really make much progress.

The following day, the boat owner told us of a new spare alternator that he had. I went over, picked up both alternators and took them back to my boat, where I was able to take the pulley off the old alternator (I also had to take the pulley off the new alternator as the one that was on it was incorrect) and put it on the new one. I then returned with the new alternator, the boat owner installed it and I wired it up. It still wouldn't charge - voltage at the battery post but no current coming from the alternator. Now, I'm not much of a marine electrician but I can usually find my way around an alternator. I worked on it for a while but still couldn't get it to charge. Their solar panels were still working, though.

In the mean time, the boat owner was becoming increasingly concerned that his batteries were going dead and he still had to traverse about 85 miles of reef-strewn waters to the next port. Granted, he did have his computer with good charts and plenty of Google Earth shots to get them there safely but he had no depth sounder.

I had worked on his boat for almost three days and I didn't feel like I was responsible to guide him into the next port. We had plans to head off in a different direction and wished them the best of luck. Some of the other boats in our 'fleet' apparently did feel responsible and changed their plans so they could act as guide boats.

Was I cold-hearted? My wife and I talked about it amongst ourselves and decided that if we had been the ones who had been hit, we wouldn't have expected anyone to change their plans for us. After all, their boat wasn't disabled, just many of their systems weren't working. Granted, some of those systems were important but they had a reasonable level of sophistication that should have allowed them to navigate to almost anywhere in the world.

What would have you done?
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post #2 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

I wouldn't worry about it. You helped the guy out. There were plenty of other people around who wanted to stay and help them out. I think you are being to hard on yourself
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post #3 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

I see no reason why he would need more than one guide boat. I might have suggested drawing lots to see who does the guiding. And keep my fingers crossed that it wouldn't be me.

If I was really lucky, some do-gooder would volunteer instead of drawing lots, and I wouldn't have to do it. And, I'd still look good.
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post #4 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

Anybody but yourself giving you any flak? Sounds like you all did all you could to help them out, recovering from a lightning strike is a complicated process.

Kudos to you and all the others, esp those who were able to change their plans.
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post #5 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

Sounds like you are beating yourself up a bit because you feel guilty for not doing more.

Just because you 'could' have done more doesn't mean you were obliged and certainly doesn't make you an SOB.

No good deed goes unpunished, even if the punishment is all in your head.

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post #6 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

It's good to help people, but sometimes it's enough to observe that they already have help from someone else. As another poster noted, they didn't need a whole fleet of guide boats.

It's like one of those situations where you have 8 people moving a couch because everyone feels obligated to help.
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post #7 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

You did your best and helped someone out in need. Sometime we have to make some hard choices about how much "more" we can really do. Be happy with your own contribution. Would be good to have you in my anchorage anyday.
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post #8 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

You're an a$$hole. There, feel better? I would have done the same thing.
Maybe this will help;
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...41C65A91938955

goat
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post #9 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

You did plenty -- no need to feel any remorse.


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post #10 of 25 Old 04-11-2015
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Re: Am I an SOB?

we had the opposite as we got hit in the Bahamas and lost everything but could start the engine. A trawler from Switzerland was in the anchorage and made sure we were ok and lead us across the Bahamas banks to an anchorage. He came over after we anchored to make sure we had food and water and made plans to lead us through a narrow channel in the am .. ie on his schedule not mine. He lead is around and spotted the shoreline for us and just kept telling us to get closer. Once in the ocean he said he would watch us on radar as he turned north and we went west. We will never ever forget his kindness nor will the guys you helped.
We are all family out here and take care of each other.
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