Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don't leave your boat

A few blog pasts back, in March, I covered a story on accountant Bill Heritage, who was forced to abandon his 7.9m sloop Air Apparent about 90 nautical miles west of New Zealand's Kaipara Harbour, when his inexperienced crew ignored his orders and set off the yacht's emergency locator beacon. Much to Heritage's chagrin they were subsequently picked up by rescue helicopter.

Yesterday, the boat was found drifting about 210 nautical miles (389km) off North Cape, upright and drifting with its mast intact and its sail dragging in the water.

The decision on whether to salvage the abandoned yacht now rests with the insurance company, which had finally paid out after much haggling. Interestingly, the "mutineers" have donated $14,000 to the helicopter services that saved them, to help cover the $20,000 rescue costs.

But the moral of the story here, is that in pretty much most conditions, don't leave your boat! Which means that to head off to sea, in any size craft, we need the skills, equipment and know-how to use that equipment to ensure that we come back in one piece.


Silbs said...

Good post. Fine hulls can take care of themselves in some awfully bad conditions. Experienced sailors reduce sail. If it gets worse, take off the sails, lash the tiller, go below and lay ahull. Many boats survive this just fine. How much the crew can take is another story.

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