The very idea of dealing with bad weather for several consecutive several days and attended loss of sleep and broken gear makes off-shore more challenging.
Sorry, but anyone who feels seriously challenged by the very IDEA
that one might have to deal with a prolonged period of serious weather has no business being out there to begin with, and had best confine their sailing to within cell phone range of SeaTow...
Also, the extent to which a boat might be 'battered' by heavy weather offshore is generally, in my view, greatly overstated... If things get that bad, where the boat and crew is being punished by the conditions, there's often a pretty simple alternative: just HEAVE-TO
, for chrissake! And yet, it's amazing how rarely this most basic of seamanlike tactics seems to be employed these days... Can anyone recall a particular instance of a boat in the Caribbean 1500 or Salty Dawg Rallies simply taking the decision to park it for awhile, go easy on the boat for a bit, and let the crew get some rest, and re-group? Perhaps someone has done it, but it's certainly rarely done, everyone seems to think they have to keep moving at all costs... A contributing factor, of course, might be that so many of today's Latest and Greatest boats can be rather difficult to be make to heave-to properly... But there is no greater 'Stress Reliever' in rough weather offshore than heaving-to, nothing else even comes close...
Scott & Kitty Kuhner, describing their first of 2 circumnavigations, this on on a 30' Allied Seawind, which they prepped for by reading Eric Hiscock
S&K: One thing we learned from the Hiscocks before we set sail was that whenever they encountered heavy weather, they'd heave-to.
We'd do the same thing. We hove-to between Rarotonga and Bora Bora for three days in 35 to 45 knots. Seas were breaking over the boat, green water every 15 or 20 minutes. But we never worried about the boat. It was just a matter of when it was going to end. She hove-to very well, and generally it was very comfortable.
BWS: It's sundown, the wind is gusting to 35, and the glass is still falling? What did you do with the Seawind?
S&K: Simple. We'd heave-to. If we're running downwind, we fly the twin storm jibs. Sustained 35-plus with plenty of sea room, we'll just heave-to.
» She?ll Cross the Ocean if You Will
Off-shore if something go wrong it is a big deal to get help and may take days and often the loss of your boat. Near shore help is usually only an hour or so away and the boat can typically be saved.
Help being "within an hour of so" presupposes you're sailing in places like Chesapeake Bay, or Long Island Sound... I can think of many places where being within 2 miles of land, may as well be 500 for all intents and purposes, in terms of how quickly "help" could be on the scene...
In addition, boats are hardly "often lost" offshore when things go wrong, such catastrophic events are actually rather rare... Now, if you really mean they are sometimes DISCARDED
, that's quite another matter, and it does seem to be occurring with increasing frequency, and the comparative ease with which offshore rescues can summoned, and effected today...
The extent to which the notion of self-sufficiency or self-rescue has gone by the boards today is one of the more striking changes I've seen over my lifetime on the water... When I was taught to sail as a kid, one of the first things drummed into us by our mentors, was that each of us was solely responsible for getting our little boats back to shore, and anyone who required outside assistance to do so suffered a sort of youthful Public Shaming
Obviously, there can be circumstances where outside assistance is absolutely required, and the smart thing to do... But again, the prevalent mindset I see today to "Call for Help" as the first response to trouble, it's really quite stunning... The immediacy with which people will call SeaTow after running aground on the ICW at or near low tide, for instance, it never ceases to amaze...