Maybe true. But the lesson still stands. The skipper should make the risk assessment and decide if the risk of staying aboard is greater than the risk of being rescued - which can be substantial. Once the call goes out that conditions have put your vessel in unsurvivable peril, you've almost certainly committed to abandoning ship. There are other less drastic options, like being on a radio watch. They'll ask how things are going, and if you go silent, they'll dispatch a rescue.
You can also ask another nearby vessel to stand alongside. I've done that once. With my little personal boat, a 26 foot Pearson Ariel standing alongside a 50 foot sailboat hove to in 12 foot swells at 16 seconds and 40 knot winds, my reports that everything was fine aboard my boat had a real calming affect on the people aboard the "imperiled" bigger boat. If my "little" boat was doing OK, maybe they were worrying too much.
It's happened to me that an inexperienced person insisted on calling in a rescue in just a bit worse than moderate conditions. Mostly, they were seasick, which makes everything seem worse. I sent that person down below with the instructions to: "check to see if there's smoke or water greater than ankle deep in the cabin." When they returned to report neither, I said: "Good. Then we aren't sinking or on fire. Please relax. I'll have you check again in 10 minutes." (Keep scared people busy and reassured.) That went on until the seastate improved and my nervous shipmate fell asleep. Now, if it'd been up to that person, we'd have had a dangerous ride up a cable to a Coast Guard helicopter, putting all of us and the Coast Guard crew in unnecessary danger. Plus, taking away that rescue asset from someone who may actually need it.
Certainly lots of different issues presented in 1 paragraph. All may contribute to thread drift
1- responsibilities of the captain to informing newbies how the should act on the boat ie,. Man overboard, contacting authorities, using VHF, pfd use. Head use. Etc On Haleakula use of VHF restricted to wife oe myself unless incapacitated
2- assessing the guests abilities designated to the captain, ive take many guests on board from first timers to experienced crew. Sounds like you had an inexperienced nervous Nellie. It’s ok different people react differently. Placing a real newbie on a 26 ft boat like your or #35 ft boat like mine is intimidating for some. I tailor our day out around that and how they react when they first come aboard. I wat h carefully. Last thing I want is them uncomfortable when it takes a few Hours to get to dock. They can upset themselves and others.
It’s a big leap from a basic sail on a realitively heavy sailing day to the need to call the CG for rescue. We’ve all read what the captain responsibilities are are most on here know them. Asking for assistance is a big step. Askking for xassistance to step of the boat. More or less a final step. The crew is not involved in these decisions. Calling in the CG is the captains responsibility unless incapacitated. Also checking the vessel for that potential....again the captains responsibility.
Maybe explaining what was the actual emergency ( smoke / water) you mentioned. I have found that many nervous people are looking for confidence in the captain. It goes a long way to settling them down, how the captain reacts. That can set the tone in many guest situations.