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  #41  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

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Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
How many times do we see an abandon boat survive at sea without anyone aboard? It tells you a lot about that moment when the crew abandons ship. The boat knows it will survive but will probably go through hell first. The people on board can't handle that hell as well as the boat can and bug out.
The times when men were steel and boats were wood are long gone.
Now boats are plastic and men are... not men.
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  #42  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

I'm a certified wimp and horridly out of shape but I know:
1.sailing alone is more dangerous. Boat and master should shake down with long near shore cruises before undertaking trans oceanic voyages. This year I've taken a ~500m trip off shore and will take another in Oct. in the process of "shake down".
2.boat should be outfitted in accordance to one of the "requirement" lists such as generated by the racing societies or the organized trans oceanic group cruises for the voyage contemplated.
3. A 40 kt storm is not a severe storm. It is an "average" event. It needs to be respected but even in my limited experience I have been in worst and have continued the cruise. A properly outfitted vessel should remain viable during and after such a storm and in fact this vessel did.
As regards the other sailors alluded to-it is a reality that even the best crew in the best boat may run into situations where to continue to sail the boat is unwise. No one embarks on a voyage expecting that situation. But it happens. Best we can do is to do what we can to minimize the risk while not backing down from testing our personal limits. I have every respect for this unfortunate gentleman and even more for the other folk mentioned by other posters but still believe the trip described by the OP was ill starred from the beginning.
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  #43  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

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Originally Posted by TJC45 View Post
I'm not so sure about how to rate her level of experience. She describes herself as not much more than an unwilling passenger on that trans atlantic crossing. And, later admits to being scared to death to begin the journey. Didn't she have trouble anchoring in Horse Shoe Cove at Sandy Hook?

Yetttttt, a day or so later, out of sight of land, she manages to adaptly find and repair a serious leak that would have sunk her boat in short order if she was unable to deal with it. Then she goes on to navigate her way to Bermuda. It was Bermuda right? Not bad for a rookie!

The point is, while she did her best to try to come off as a directionless trust fund baby with little interest in doing anything but getting a suntan, she managed to sail that boat like a pro!

If anything i'd call her experienced. But the book confused me as to her ability before setting off.

What about the kid who sailed Dove around the world?

Well she started out in a very blue water capable boat that had been set up for blue water from the beginning. She was very lucky to make it to Bermuda alive as she admits.
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  #44  
Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

RUNNING FREE now sits in a "scrap yard" in New Bedford...

Unless she was somehow very seriously damaged while being pulled off the beach, I see no reason why this should necessarily spell the end for this boat... Surely, having simply been "looted" of much of her gear shouldn't be a big deal, and hopefully someone might be able take advantage of an opportunity to score a deal on a good old boat, and keep her sailing...

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New Bedford scrap yard is end of story for looted sailboat

A 36-foot Pearson ketch that came ashore on Norton Point beach in Edgartown on July 5 is now in a New Bedford scap yard. Abandoned by her owner, Bill Heldenbrand, in a storm on May 12 as he sailed solo from Jacksonville, Florida, the boat drifted more than 700 miles over 54 days.

After several unsuccessful attempts, salvage operators pulled the sailboat off the beach, but not before looters had done their worst. Last week, after learning of the thefts, Edgartown police offered a brief period of amnesty during which items could be returned.

Edgartown Police Detective Chris Dolby told The Times Wednesday that the items returned included lines, tools, and "the steering wheel," but no electronics.

"I have an office full of random stuff," Detective Dolby said.

Asked how the thieves justified their actions, Mr. Dolby said the reasoning ranged from references to maritime law to "everyone else was doing it." Police were not immediately notified of the looting.

"It seems like it was pretty much a free for all," Mr. Dolby added.

The question now is what to do with it. The sailboat Running Free has been sold and is now in a scrap yard, Det. Sgt. Dolby said.

New Bedford scrap yard is end of story for looted sailboat : The Martha's Vineyard Times
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  #45  
Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

We had a boat break off her mooring out here a few weeks ago and end up on the rocks.

Within a day the entire thing had been gutted by locals. The railing, stanchions, everything were gone. When people told me what happened, they acted like it was just to be expected and no one seemed to care.
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  #46  
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

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Originally Posted by az_r2d1 View Post
The times when men were steel and boats were wood are long gone.
Now boats are plastic and men are... not men.
Sounds a bit harsh to me, and I doubt that's particularly applicable in this instance... Any man in his late 60's who is running in ultra-Marathon races sounds tougher than most, to me...

I think this is simply yet another example of the trend towards 'sailors' of lesser experience venturing offshore than was typical in the past... The traditional progression from coastal to offshore sailing through a series of 'baby steps' has gone by the boards for many today, largely a result of the need to learn how to navigate having been eliminated from the equation...

Mr Heldenberg sounds like a pretty tough cookie, to me - he simply hadn't a CLUE what he might be getting himself into... In the days before GPS, I believe the odds were probably considerably higher that he might have had a deeper understanding of what he could potentially be in for, and how better to deal with it...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 07-18-2013 at 09:02 AM.
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

Got to agree with Jon. Think people in this circle may actually be more fit than in the past and believe no one can say this gentleman lacked for courage. Think he abandoned the boat because he was well beyond his comfort zone and did not have the knowledge base nor equipment to deal with the situation. Believe Jon is absolutely right these attributes are gained as one incrementally increases your experience resulting in an appropriately outfitted boat crewed well
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  #48  
Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Huh? it was for Skip Allan, when he abandoned WILDFLOWER...

This is how Bill Schanen put it in SAILING:

The tears are understandable, but this is not a sad story. A boat was lost, but a sailor survived. And unlike so many rescues of yachtsmen in distress, this one put no rescuers’ lives at risk and spent no taxpayers’ money. Nor will Wildflower exact any costs as a derelict menace to shipping. As his final act before leaving her, Skip disconnected the hose from the engine seawater intake, allowing the boat to sink.

If there is such a thing as a class act in abandoning ship, this was it.
I am absolutely amazed that Bill was able to transfer his bags of goodies and himself from his boat to the large container ship without any issues, and even had the time to scuttle his boat.

FYI, had I scuttled S/V Triumph in July of 2011 when being rescued by the Kim Jacob, I would not be here now. It turned out that I had to return to Triumph to hang on until the Kim Jacob could relocate me.

Scuttling your vessel can't be done unless you are rock solid sure you will be getting onto / into something else ASAP.
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  #49  
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

ru, Tanai Aebi is the wrong one to mention in any discussion of sane sailing. In one of her first articles she was quite clear about not knowing how to use the sextant, and figuring it out mainly by the luck of the gods. And that she'd have probably passed Bermuda and run out of food and water and died at sea if not for that LUCK. Her luck held up long enough for her to build experience and skills.

But as boatman points out, a solo sailor, much less a solo newb, ain't gonna get offshore insurance.

And once a boat has gone aground, probably bent or sheared the rudder, ripped up the propshaft, maybe displaced the keel, the wrecking yard is very much the right place for it. Especially on a high-rent island in prime season.

In the US, "government" agencies are usually immune from lawsuit under the principle of sovereign immunity. So whether the local PD, FD, CG, etc. would have had any liability exposure by attempting salvage is questionable. More likely the fact that they FAILED to take any protective action, would get them in court for failure to perform their duty. The only question being whether they have a duty to salvage, or a duty to prevent fouling of the coast by allowing a wreck to go up on it.

"Y'Honoh, we'da liked to salvage the boat, but theys was fresh donuts ready at the KrispyKreme!"
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Re: Interesting tale of a captain who abandoned vessel

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Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
I am absolutely amazed that Bill was able to transfer his bags of goodies and himself from his boat to the large container ship without any issues, and even had the time to scuttle his boat.

FYI, had I scuttled S/V Triumph in July of 2011 when being rescued by the Kim Jacob, I would not be here now. It turned out that I had to return to Triumph to hang on until the Kim Jacob could relocate me.

Scuttling your vessel can't be done unless you are rock solid sure you will be getting onto / into something else ASAP.
That's a very good point, no question...

Sounds like Skip Allan was pretty confident of his situation, and as Bill Schanen noted, the abandonment of WILDFLOWER was handled in exemplary fashion - both by himself, and the rescuers...

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