Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Mexico, USA (Heron, Elephant Butte lakes); Arizona (Lake Pleasant)
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico
(IMHO/Your Sea Miles May Vary)
If the Rebel Heart was sinking, albeit slowly, and was a thousand miles offshore, with no other boats capable of salvage reasonably close on its track, and the US Coast Guard or US Navy advised the Kaufmans to scuttle, then they did the right thing.
At a guess, hiring a commercial towing/salvage vessel to come a thousand miles or more to de-water, patch, and tow a damaged sailboat could cost a lot of money relative to the sailboat's value.
And, if the boat seemed most likely to sink anyway, the case for leaving it afloat in hope of an unlikely salvage wouldn't seem that great when weighed against its liability as a hazard to navigation.
Supposing some other crew had been close enough to find and catch the boat before it sank, and they had salvage tools and expertise, and spare crew, they still would have had to have made a pretty heroic effort to save the boat, plus likely diverting from their planned course or having to repatriate part of their crew, etc., and would have deserved a very hefty salvage award. That, and the cost of repairing damage and cleaning up/replacing a water-damaged interior and systems, might have come up to a very big figure compared to the value of the boat.
Sure, the case could have been very different if the Rebel Heart had only been one or two hundred miles off shore, or perhaps if the shore had been downwind/downcurrent and the leakage had stopped, or if that to-be-wished-for intrepid boat crew had been nearby. But they weren't. So I have to believe that this is one of the things that Eric did right.
Last edited by rgscpat; 08-10-2014 at 11:46 AM.