Two articles piqued my curiosity today, one on the sinking of the Bounty, the other about “two rival sailing organizations, each planning to travel from Hampton Roads to the Caribbean”. The common thread is leaving port when the expected weather conditions suggest staying tied up.
The article on the Bounty written by G. Anderson Chase is a good hard look at what did go wrong and what we can learn from the tragedy. The idea that as a group we are smarter than any one individual but that the captain has to encourage the crew to participate in planning is not new but does go against the tradition of the captain being the boss.
There is also discussion regarding abandoning a vessel and why waiting until you can “step up in to the life raft” might not be the best course of action. Allowing enough time to have an organized, safe evacuation is important- but one does not want to abandon a vessel that is still seaworthy.
The second article by Mike Hixenbaugh talks about two groups heading to the Caribbean. Again bad weather was forecast and one group left early to get ahead of it. The other waited until their scheduled departure time and ended up in the middle of some nasty conditions giving the Coast Guard plenty of practice rescuing people.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why organizers keep putting people in harms way. I also can’t figure out why those on board the vessels can’t make their own decision that the conditions are unsafe. Do we all want to have the Coast Guard dictate to us when we can use our boats? They have started doing just that, the recent America’s Cup regatta is a good example. We need to use good common sense so as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say “let’s all be safe out there”.
I will be reading these articles again to see what more I can learn, with winter upon us there is time to think about what happened and improve on our safety procedures.