I understand prudence. And I'm all for safety and preparation. But sometimes the advocacy for it - and the critique surrounding it gets a little over the top in my opinion.
Let's clarify here. This is not the case of an experienced sailor deciding to prepare his/her boat in a way that mitigates risk while winter sailing. I have absolutely no problem with that.
This is a case where an individual has decided to learn how to sail
during the winter months, in a boat that is new to him. In this instance, the water temps were such that he had to break ice to leave his marina. He also invited two other rank novices to come along with him for the learning experience. Not only are they novices, but they are kids. It makes not a lick of difference whose kids they are. They have neither the experience nor the judgement to gauge the risks here.
How many of you learned to sail under similar circumstances? How many of you took your or someone else's kids along during the winter to learn to sail in your new boat?
And please spare me this crap about kids locked in their room with video games. My kids don't have them, don't play them, don't have cell phones, don't twitter, don't facebook, don't even have e-mail blah blah blah. They have been around sailboats since they were in diapers. I would confidently wager that they could sail circles around more than a few people posting to this thread. They take their boats off on their own to camp, hike, explore, all beyond the range of any parental supervision.
But as experienced as they are, and I am, I would not have them out sailing during the winter without being clipped in. And just as I would not bring them along with me as I taught myself how to sail in mid-January on Chesapeake Bay, I would never encourage anyone else to do so.
I will continue to point out dangers and risks when I see them, particularly where novice sailors are concerned. In this case, the O.P.'s MOB plan was/is seriously flawed, and yet you label remarks that call his attention to this "over the top".