Saturday, December 9, 2006

lost at sea

I am sorry to say, but this cannot be a cheery post. At 9:30 on Friday night, a 25 year old woman was swept off a sailing ship in the Atlantic and has not yet been recovered.(See link here) I doubt she will be. For those of you who don't know, we are sailors. I have sailed all my life and I have sailed tall ships. We have spent the last three years, with breaks for hurricane season, living on a sailboat in the US and the Bahamas. This story hits too close to home. We know people who have lost their boats, I know people who have been rescued from boats by freighters,(we call them frighters) and getting swept overboard is the ultimate nightmare. Especially with children aboard.

We know a couple, he was on deck during a night watch, alone, and he fell over. This was a catamaran doing about 7 knots, which is really bloody fast for a sailboat. When his wife came on deck several hours later, she couldn't find him. That must have been an absolutely harrowing few moments. He was OK though, he had managed to get into the dingy and was towed in it for several hours until she came on deck. They were both very lucky.

We know another couple, he was reasonably experienced, but a bit of a cowboy, you know, took risks 'cause they were fun. One night, they were sailing near us at the time though we didn't know it, he went on deck for a task, and got knocked overboard unconscious by the boom. His girlfriend was a virtual non-sailor. He was lucky, and smart. He had a harness on, so he was attached to the boat and came to as he hit the water and was able to pull himself aboard. There is a dent in the boom, a large heavy metal job, and he was concussed, although managed to sail to a harbour.

The vast majority of cruisers are prudent and careful and nothing of this scale happens to them, it hasn't to us so far. It never swings out of the realm of possibility for anyone though, and care must always be taken. These things can and do happen. I hope for a rescue for this girl,and her family. She is someone's daughter fresh out of university probably, off on the first few days of a big adventure.

So for all our friends that are still out there doing it.....tie on and take care.
Don't want to read about you in the papers OK.


Dorky Dad said...

Well ... I guess that means no sailing for me.

Actually, I live too far from the ocean these days to do any of the sort. If you read about me in the papers it will be for another reason.

Trish said...

I am a little panicky on open water for that very reason.

Poor woman...

Beth said...

wow, that's horrible.

I love the water, love being BY the water, but not ON the water. I am so scared of boats and falling in and drowning or being eaten by a shark. Stupid, I know. But sailing around in the Bahamas sounds so romantic!

oreneta said...

Oh I gave all of you such the wrong impression. We ran much higher risks walking up and down US1 in Florida to get the the damned higgly piggly than we did on the water..... Your more likely to die under the wheels of an icecream truck, even if you don't live in Kansas. It is just telling. They are still searching for her. Turns out she is the daughter of Bob Gainey, the General Manager of the Montreal Canadians, and a great hockey player in his day. There is still hope but can you imagine swimming in huge seas since Friday night.....