Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
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I agree that boaters are getting dumber. You don't have to look any further than your own marina or cruising ground to see multiple signs of nautical idiocy every day.
It seems also that the frequency of collisions, groundings, and near catastrophic mishaps is increasing. Not just with pleasure boats; cruise boats and other large commercial vessels also contribute to the chaos. So do "professionally captained" vessels (particularly distressing since I've been a professionally licensed master for over 30 years). It seems no category of boat is immune, even the Staten Island Ferry. Or the Queen Elizabeth II. Or the Navy, for that matter, which managed in the past couple of years to surface directly under not one but two commercial vessels in different parts of the world!
H O W E V E R, we really don't have enough info re: the 68-year old and his "three rescues in 36 hours" to make an informed judgment. Yes, on the surface of things and with the sketchy news reporting it appears it's a case of someone attempting something he should not. But, we really don't know much more.
Maybe he's an experienced sailor; maybe he's not.
Maybe he was in an appropriate vessel; maybe not.
Maybe he was sick or suffering from some mental disorder -- temporary or otherwise -- maybe not. We just don't know.
I agree that 20+ knot winds and 6' seas are no big deal for a well-found cruising boat, even a very small one.
I don't agree that a 68-year old is incapable of handling these conditions. At the same age, I left port in Rockland last year when it was blowing 35 kts (the prediction was for winds to moderate....they didn't). Uncomfortable, but not threatening, though I did listen to the Coast Guard rescuing a sailor in a "protected channel" nearby.
I believe Chichester was about the same age when he sailed singlehanded 'round the world.
While in Maine I met three over 80 sailors who'd sailed up from Massachusetts. Done so every year for the past 20 or so.
But, much as we'd like to speculate, we just don't know for sure what happened (all three times).
Last edited by btrayfors; 07-25-2008 at 06:59 PM.