Earlier in the winter, I was saddened to learn of the loss of the junk rigged schooner Easy Go and today I was shocked to learn of the abandonment of the 42-foot catamaran Be Good Too; luckily there was no loss of life in either case. I think there is a lot we can all learn from both these cases and that's what this post is about. But first I need to say that this is a difficult post to write. Drawing lessons from the actions of people who have been through a harrowing experience at sea from the comfort of a warm condo in the Canadian Rockies has the potential to be the worst kind of sanctimonious second guessing. I will try to avoid that and concentrate on what we can all learn from these two abandonments, but inevitably the very process of highlighting lessons learned carries with it some implied criticism. I can't help that, but do know that I am only too aware of the mistakes that I have made in my offshore sailing career and that the fact that I have never lost a boat or had to call for assistance was on several occasions more the result of good luck than good judgement. One other thing. I have based this post on two short accounts of what happened, posted by two of the participants. This is by no means a well researched technical analysis. I could easily be wrong about the details or the inference I have drawn from these accounts. However, I have also cranked in my own considerable experience in the area as well as my reading of the accounts of scores of other losses in the same area over some 40 years. What I'm trying to convey here is that I may have one or two details wrong about these particular casualties, but don't let that influence you into missing the overall message. Ok, enough covering my ass, on to my thoughts on the lessons learned.
John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.