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Re: Mutiny at Dawn - Transpac Race 2013
It is interesting how different people react to stress. No one knows for sure how they would react to a stressful situation. I'm pretty sure based on past experience how I would have reacted.
I'm pretty respectful of the chain of command.
The following is my code:
If the owner/captain wants to sail down the middle I would attempt to explain the alternatives once, twice at the most.
If the owner didn't want to fly the spin I wouldn't fly it.
If the owner wanted to fly the spin and wrapped it up in the middle of the night and I felt I could retrieve it I would.
If I was not able to safely retrieve it I would respectfully say so and decline.
If the owner didn't want to use the autohelm I wouldn't use it.
I would use the water given me but might squirrel a little away just in case of a future emergency.
If however we actually ran out of water I would use my sat phone to alert the coast guard regardless of what the captain said.
If I had to drink tank water instead of bottled water I would do so.
From the story it is not clear if they were running out of tank water or bottled water or both.
My thinking is:
1. The captain is the boss and I do what he says with two exceptions.
2. The captain can not order me to do something I can't safely do. I'm the only one who knows what I can safely do. This exception is not about what I like to do or want to do but only about what I can't physically do without incapacitating injury or death. If for example if a captain ordered me to deal with a hose clamp in a deep bilge where I knew I would get scratched and cut by hose clamps I would do it as that would be painful and annoying but not incapacitating.
3. If the boat or people were in serious trouble, out of water, food or sinking or serious illness are the only ones I can think of I would use my sat phone not to call in a MayDay but to put them on notice as to our situation. This one I really don't like. I would really hate it if some nervous nelly hid in the forepeak and called a Mayday on my boat if I was the captain. If I was the captain I would calm the nervous person by making the call myself. Typically in case of a difference of opinion I suspect the cc would require a check-in every few minutes until everyone was on the same page.
In the OP's situation it might have taken a week longer. They may have indeed run out of water, maybe not though.
I think that the above conduct would make the responsibility for any outcome good or bad rest clearly where it belongs.
I think RD was very lucky.
The owner could have been a little bigger and actually hurt him
The owner could have killed him quietly in his sleep, tossed the body and said he fell off the boat.
The owner could have had a weapon
The owner could have, and may yet charge him, with mutiny.
I believe that the chain of command is more important than running the boat right.
I think the Coast Guard's admonition to "de-escalate the situation" was a very succinct way of saying what this long post said.
In other words "stand-down soldier".
I have crewed on may Sail Netters boats and would like to crew on all of them.
I'm interesting in you experienced captains if you agree with this code or think it should be amended in some way.
In fact when taking on crew maybe a discussion of this sort is in order. Part of selecting a compatible crew.
The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
Last edited by davidpm; 08-06-2013 at 11:27 PM.