To LandLocked... on the one hand, yes, that was a bizzare thing to experience. On the other, it was instinctual, since I did not know that I had lost "bouyancy" from taking on water, and I was really fighting to return to the surface. Though each time I regained the surface, it was only to get a breath, be pummelled full of water again, and sink again.
Really frightening... I was absolutely sure I was only in the last gasps of life without any hope for being "saved".
The chainplates broke under the deck above the ribs. Apparently from metal fatigue. I think that the leaking stanchions, on that side, had slowly rusted them too. I had recently done a lot of work on the port side of the deck, wherein I actually replaced the rotten wood, then replaced the fiberglass / gel coat / Imron, and all leaking finally stopped. So, I planned on doing the same project on the starboard side when we were in Europe. Bad call there. About 3 years earlier, I had removed and restored the interior teak walls in the boat, and had an opportunity to review the status of the chainplates. They looked excellent then. So, if you have any deck leaks, FIX THEM.
Well, thank you, but, these were the mistakes I made:
1. I should damn well have known that the oil cooler was past it's life expectancy of 5 - 7 years, and changed it. It was 7 years old. CHANGE YOUR OIL COOLER EVERY 5 YEARS.
2. I should have fixed the deck leaks COMPLETELY. Then, I should have checked the chainplates using the special dye they use to do that. Not just look at them.
3. I should have turned around and headed back to Boston when the oil cooler broke.
4. I should have not called the Coast Guard when the stays broke.
5. We should have TOLD THE TANKER NOT TO INTERSECT OUR SEA ANCHOR LINE.
6. We should have STAYED ON THE BOAT until the tanker either deployed a life boat to get us, or accomplished getting some lines to us, wherein we attached those to harnesses to hoist us to their deck.
7. I should not have let go of the Triumph after having gotten back to her in the open ocean, then: see #6.
8. (Earlier) I should have selected a much better life preserver, or even used my Boston Whaler.... but that would still be in conflict with #6, though would have been better than jumping over board with what I had for a PFD.
9. I should have paid for the insurance with REPLACEMENT VALUE, not the cheaper stated value policy we bought; at least for the crossing. We are receiving $135,500.00 BUT we had "over improved" the Triumph, wherein we are losing over $300,000. AND we are having a hell of a time getting any financing, even with $50,000 down. We are hearing it is the "economy". Translation: banks are not giving loans like they used to.
And finally, I should have hired a fellow sailor man to do the crossing with me. We would have addressed the issues as they cropped up, and would have supported each other to continue in that mode, rather than freaking out, and demanding that I show I care about her feelings / fears.
We had discussed the issues the night before the calamity, after the stays had broken. Evelyn was quite ready to bolt. I talked her into my plan of slowly sailing back to Boston.
But, I had also offerred to have just her extracted from the Triumph, and I would sail home. She said she wouldn't leave me alone, but don't I care about HER feelings??
So, with that in mind, when I opened the engine room door the next morning and we saw the water sloshing around in there, I gave up to her. BIG MISTAKE, considering I came as close to dying as you can, and with the "economy" we are stuck without a boat.
I was the Captain, and I should have held to the responsibilities of that before the desire to maintain domestic tranquility. Now I am not a Captain, AND the domestic scene is less than wonderful too. Since we do not have our "home", and I don't have anything to do anymore. And I can't blame anyone or anything else except me.
So, Captains, learn from Doug Sabbags' mistakes. In the LONG run, you will be much happier.