Once again it has come to my attention that a vessel was lost due to an influx of water and insufficient pumping capability.
In this case I'm writing about the Bounty, (I just read; Life and Death on the Bounty
) but just a few months ago a very good friend had his boat sink out from under him with both engines running full bore, heading for shallow water to beach the boat, almost costing him his life.
Bounty had two main engines and two 20 kw generators from what I understand. That's possibly four diesel engines running at full capacity and just exactly what is keeping those engines cool? Water!
If you ever find yourself in this situation, close the seacock (s) and take the intake hose (s) off the thru hull and drop it (them) in the bilge! There should be a sea strainer to catch debris which is very easy and quick to clean, unless you have sea chests, in which case a cloth or colander or even your fingers will minimize the clogging.
I'm not saying that in the case of the Bounty that it would have made a difference, but they may have had a better chance with less water in the engine room, and engines and generators running. It definitely would have made a difference (all the difference) in my friend's case.
On some boats I have even Y-ed the intake and carried enough hose to reach anywhere aboard.
Throwing a sail over a hole in the hull can give you enough time to get a mattress inside with something (a door, the table whatever) to push against the hole from the inside, further slowing the influx of water. Then, when the weather abates (if that's a problem) maybe you can arrange a more permanent solution and sail yourself back to safety.
Some friends of mine were holed by a log a thousand miles SW of Hawaii and after doing the above, sailed safely back to Honolulu, certainly not without problems, but again they lived AND saved the boat.
So in those unwanted moments of catastrophe, do not lose your head and your boat; think. There may be a simple, easy, if temporary, solution to your immediate problem.