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DougSabbag 01-20-2012 11:10 AM

Last Night at the Harvard Club
This "new thread" is actually sort of a phase II from S/V Triumph. You might want to review that thread in order to understand the background to this one.

My wife and I exchanged emails this morning, related to that "event" roughly 1000 miles between Boston and the Azore Islands this past July 27th, as we lost our vessel the Triumph:

Boy, it is so rough to meet up with a group of sailors :( I expected the initial rehashing of the 'story', but I couldn't get anyone off of it. After going through the "what you should have done..." the group I was talking to quickly moved to the "thank god you're still alive..." Then, I tried to change the subject by asking about their boats. That garnered a quick "Cape Dory, etc." then back to survival stories. I started crying at one point when Donna kept recounting stories of people who had fallen overboard and were either lost at sea or drowned or had a heart attack in the Gulf Stream. This was embellished liberally with "it's a wonder Doug survived. Don't know how that happened..." Okay, so now I'm crying here at my desk. Do people honestly think this helps? Or are they just ghouls? Which is my conclusion. I know you were the one that was in the water the longest and faced death the closest, but, whether you believe it or not, I don't know how I could have gone on without you. You are my soulmate and the love of my life. Without you, everything is meaningless... And I wish to hell people would quit deliberating over how close I came to losing you... I hate them. Love you.

DougSabbag 01-20-2012 11:12 AM

Oh boy.... you are such a "woman". :-)

I would rather look at the amazement that I somehow survived as a cause of great relief and happiness.
Whenever I allow myself to dwell on the shear terror and surety that I was lost, I come back out of that zone with the happiness that instead, I did "make it" to a life buoy, and back to my life with you.

And, from our experience, together we can learn from this. When I continually state: "this was the worst mistake of my life", that is not to heap blame or bad feeling upon either of us, it is to share something clearly learned from this.

That is not to never venture out again; it is to trust in our own abilities, resources, and the basic strength of our vessel before we ask for "assistance" ever again. Once I placed our lives in the hands of the Kim Jacob, as we have learned, we were in a much less secure position, with the associated much greater probability of total loss.

As I have also experienced with my "discussions" on the Sailnet blog, many / most people, are eager to rationalize how this couldn't or wouldn't happen to them because they would have done such and such, differently. I think this is a self serving protection and shield from their inner fear of what could happen, to regain their own security that it won't happen to them.

The majority of the people last night, as with any group of "sailors", all have those same inner fears. It is not natural nor healthy to stoke those fears, rather is is natural to resolve them, in as healthy a manner as possible; which is to both learn from others' mistakes, and to believe in oneself enough to still set sail again.

I made many mistakes on July 26th & the 27th, which destroyed our vessel, and placed both of us in harms way.
Even my first reaction was to ERRONEOUSLY blame you.... i.e., anyone / anything but me.
That is clearly wrong, and yet, we must learn from this if we ever plan to try again. Whether it be to cross an ocean, or even go out for the day, we have to do our best in preparedness, of the ship, all of her equipment, but most importantly, ourselves.

It takes a certain personal strength and drive to not give up the ship; and now we know the consequences of arriving at that decision too easily / carelessly.

The Triumph wore us down to the point that we therefore accepted the erroneous opportunity to push the "easy" button. Now we know it can be much worse to push that button, than to just suck it up and deal with the RELATIVELY minor issues. Relative to the consequences of pushing that button.

I did come closest to being killed, so perhaps it is appropriate that I see what is to be learned the clearest.

I truly thank God that I was not lost, and that the resulting weight and pain of that was not placed on your shoulders.
We avoided that bullet, though it did come very, very close to us. But, we avoided that bullet, after all the other equipement / resources available were either not properly used, or appllied, which is a testament to what did save us in the end. Ourselves. And from that we should learn to trust what we have learned is really the strongest part of everything we have, again, ourselves.

Everyone else who will ever hear our story, like the people last night, will likewise resolve within themselves what they need to in order for them to set sail again. I think this is all part of the funny little 2 legged creatures called human beings.

And all of that brings us to the point that we are shopping for another sailboat. WOW, we are funny creatures.

All my love,

smackdaddy 01-20-2012 11:26 AM

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Doug, thanks for sharing those emails. I'm very glad to see you guys being drawn together through all this.

And it's good to see you back dude.

(PS - this really should be in the sailing section - not OT. It's definitely relevant.)

DougSabbag 01-20-2012 11:29 AM

To Sailnet,

Last night, as was referenced in the title of this thread, we attended a meeting, as guests, of a sailing club in Boston called "Cruise for Life" which is also known as the Bluewater Sailing Club. This meeting was held in the prestigious Harvard Club room at 1 Federal St. in downtown Boston.

The previous postings were the email exchange between Evelyn and myself this morning, as a personal review of last night; and as you may imagine, of our experience this past July in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I thought that I should share that exchange with you folks, though it was a very private discussion, in order to better conclude the S/V Triumph thread which is on this Sailnet site. Or, perhaps, to re-open that discussion, in a healthier manner.

I say healthier, because as you may note, that thread was "closed" by the moderators after I became somewhat hostile with some posters, who relentlessly focused upon the "you should have done this or that" concept.

FYI, I will be the featured speaker at a meeting of the Pelagic Sailing Club, again, in Boston on May 24th this year, wherein I will provide an overview of the entire event which we survived. It is open to the public, and a large attendence is expected.

There will be a question and answer period after the initial speech.

My wife and I are still "shopping" for a replacement sailboat of our lost Triumph. We are travelling to California next weekend, to view / survey a number of fine vessels.

Thank you,

DougSabbag 01-20-2012 11:33 AM

Thank you Smack Daddy! Good to be "back".

Sorry about the erroneous categorization of this thread; as it was, it took me quite a while to figure out how to post a new thread. :-)

killarney_sailor 01-20-2012 11:40 AM

Thank you for posting. I agree totally that people do try to hide their own fears in discussions such as yours. Crossing oceans is a scary business and bad stuff can happen. I think Nietzsche certainly had it right and you will be (much) stronger for your experience.

Good luck with your boat search. Any particular reason why you are looking in California? I always had the impression the boats were more expensive on the west coast.

smackdaddy 01-20-2012 11:41 AM

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Originally Posted by DougSabbag (Post 819130)
Thank you Smack Daddy! Good to be "back".

Sorry about the erroneous categorization of this thread; as it was, it took me quite a while to figure out how to post a new thread. :-)

No worries. Hopefully the mods will move it.

DougSabbag 01-20-2012 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by killarney_sailor (Post 819134)
Thank you for posting. I agree totally that people do try to hide their own fears in discussions such as yours. Crossing oceans is a scary business and bad stuff can happen. I think Nietzsche certainly had it right and you will be (much) stronger for your experience.

Good luck with your boat search. Any particular reason why you are looking in California? I always had the impression the boats were more expensive on the west coast.

Well, our search has evolved from the Amels to the Taiwanese boats, i.e., the Formosas, Mikelsons, Hudsons, and even the Cheoy Lees. Going through the internet listings, the ones we're seeing of those, on the West Coast, appear to be in better condition, and there are more of them on that coast.

Though the logistics of bringing one from there to Boston, really sucks. So, though our first shopping trip is to Southern Cal., that will be followed by a trip to Texas, where we will see 1, and then drive to see a few more along the Gulf, eventually making it to the panhandle of Florida.

We really like the solid teak / mahogany interiors vs. the veneered interiors of so many others. The solid wood can be sanded and repaired so much better than bothering with the veneered wood. And, the pilot house cockpits provide some advantages which we like a lot, both pragmatically for line of sight steering, and the associated interior space that allows.

As far as the prices of these boats, actually, for the condition as we see from the pictures, the prices are lower on the West coast for these boats than slightly worse condition examples nearer to us.

There are a couple much nearer to us, which we've not been successful in even getting replies from the posted "agents" as to their availability! Which is very frustrating.

Faster 01-20-2012 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by smackdaddy (Post 819136)
No worries. Hopefully the mods will move it.


DougSabbag 01-20-2012 02:13 PM

As an over view of our search for a replacement of the Triumph, this is a message I recently sent to someone which provides a pretty good view of what we're looking for, and why:

Actually, we placed a bid on a 2001 33.7 Beneteau a few weeks ago, which was a salvage sale. The mast was broken right where it meets the deck. Though we were only interested in her for re-sale given that she was so relatively new, and I could fix the mast fairly easily. Our bid of $18K was outbid, and we let it go at that.

While surveying that Beneteau, we were impressed with some of the basic design strengths, while not so impressed with the cabin wood work. It was all that sort of cheap wood work, which has become the "standard" of so many of todays' boats.

Wherein we are "liveaboards" we want our home to be as comfortable as possible, with the sailing speed taking a back seat to the quality of our life at the dock, living inside this vessel.

I can't write those words without a little embarrassment, especially amongst "sailors", and have taken a good amount of derision at our installation of granite counters in the Triumph; as you may have read. :-)

So, with all of that in mind, that is why we are now focused on those Taiwanese boats. Their interior cabin space is quite spacious, the woodwork is high enough quality to warrant restoration, and the sweeping decks are something I would love.

The prices are right around $100K, plus or minus $20K, which is great too!

We also looked at the Bavaria sailboats. We found late model (2003 - 2005) 50 - 55 footers, in the price range of $135K, which was quite enticing. But, again, when we got to look at an interior, we were not very impressed with the wood work quality, and then understood why their prices had plummetted so much from their original costs of $450K +

There are so many good boats out there for reasonable prices, it is very hard to focus the shopping effort. And that is a real problem, if you want to buy a boat ASAP.

So, while occasionally veering off into looking at a Herreschoff, (sp?) or whatever, it helps us a lot in this process to first decide which brand to buy, and then be able to just focus on those.

Otherwise, we could easily be just "looking" for years.

I spent almost 10 years before finally pulling the trigger in 2000, and buying the Gulfstar 50 ketch I named the Triumph. We surely can't wait that long again.

Thank you very much for your input, and in case any of you happen to run across a boat for sale with the sort of interior quality I am talking about, in the $100K price range, I sure would love to hear about her!

Thank you!

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