Woman Missing A warning to Newbies. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 108 Old 10-15-2012 Thread Starter
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Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

For all of you who want to sail off into the sunset without any experience or proper training, and wonder why you get so much “advice” on this forum – here is a sobering example.

“A daring multi-millionairess is missing feared dead after she bought a yacht and sailed it away the same day despite warnings about her lack of experience.”

Mary Unwin bought a Moody 31, a very capable boat. Despite a lack of experience and against the advice of others, she decided to sail it home. She is missing and wreckage has been found.

Fears for missing millionairess, 65, who took out yacht on solo voyage despite warnings as wreckage is found off Cornish coast | Mail Online

Edit: Here's another link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-19944635
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Last edited by Geoff54; 10-15-2012 at 12:04 PM.
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post #2 of 108 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

Tragic and always timely for this listserv...
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post #3 of 108 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

Man, that looks more like plane crash debris, than a boat. Maybe it was hit by another ship.

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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

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Originally Posted by Geoff54 View Post
For all of you who want to sail off into the sunset without any experience or proper training...
Well, sounds like that was not quite the case here...

Quote:
Jayne Hobkirk, of Falmouth Yacht Brokers, said Mrs Unwin had appeared on Thursday with her husband and paid for the boat with a banker's draft.

"She said she had a captain's ticket, but it sounded like she hadn't done any sailing for many years," she said.

"I told her to get a refresher course, but that would normally take some days."
To me the key is to be overly conservative...especially when "starting out" in a new-to-you boat (trust me, I just blew up a catamaran - heh-heh). On top of that, singlehanding immediately ups the risk - regardless of experience and training.

It sounds more like a string of bad decisions rather than simply lack of experience or proper training.

Sad story.


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Last edited by smackdaddy; 10-15-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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post #5 of 108 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

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Man, that looks more like plane crash debris, than a boat. Maybe it was hit by another ship.
Considering she left at 6:30pm that may well be the case.
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

Conservative decision making, validating assumptions, three way communicating / closing the loop, Knowing when to STOP to think / ask and review best and safest maneuver are paramount at sea or any location that can produce harm to the living.
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post #7 of 108 Old 10-15-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

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Well, sounds like that was not quite the case here...

To me the key is to be overly conservative...especially when "starting out" in a new-to-you boat (trust me, I just blew up a catamaran - heh-heh). On top of that, singlehanding immediately ups the risk - regardless of experience and training.

It sounds more like a string of bad decisions rather than simply lack of experience or proper training.

Sad story.
I don't know Smack, I can think of several things that I was quite good at when I was younger that I would be totally incompetent at if I tried today. She said that she had a qualification that the broker didn't recognize and it sounds like everybody was warning her that she didn't have the experience. It was reported by the newspapers, so it must be right.
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

So much of that story just doesn't make sense. A 65 year old woman buys a boat with her husband, then, despite warnings not to sail until she had some experience, sets sail at night through treacherous waters in stormy weather. Her husband drives home to await her arrival.

Women are usually more cautious than men. And, as we age, we all become more cautious. I can maybe see the 61 year old husband saying, "I'll sail the boat back home. You drive back and meet me." But for the wife to say that? Very unusual.

It seems more like a suicide mission.
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

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Man, that looks more like plane crash debris, than a boat. Maybe it was hit by another ship.
I'm going to stick up for ships just on general principle. Easy theory to put forward but often the explanation is something else.

120 miles, onshore wind out of the west at Force 5 (say 20 knots), seas 4-5 feet? Alone? Lots of ways to end up on that "treacherous" lee shore without a ship.
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post #10 of 108 Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Woman Missing A warning to Newbies.

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Originally Posted by Geoff54 View Post
I don't know Smack, I can think of several things that I was quite good at when I was younger that I would be totally incompetent at if I tried today. She said that she had a qualification that the broker didn't recognize and it sounds like everybody was warning her that she didn't have the experience. It was reported by the newspapers, so it must be right.
Yeah, who knows what all the real details are? I just wanted to point out the claimed certification (UK guys can chime in on the training required for RYA certification at this level) - as it was apparently not a case of some newb "sailing off into the sunset without any experience or proper training".

These kinds of threads - as you've titled it - are intended to be cautionary tales for newbs to establish a certain point of view. But, that means, even more so, that the details really need to be right on. Otherwise, it feels more like fear-mongering than cautionary tale.

This just seems to be a much more complicated case than a complete newb throwing caution and common sense into the toilet and hoisting the sails.

In fact, it might be more a cautionary tale for the semi-trained-and-experienced guys to take some refresher courses (Safety at Sea, ASA Certs, etc.) and forego singlehanding.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 10-15-2012 at 12:52 PM.
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