Best Defense

Australian duo wins Darwin Prize by rejecting Coast Guard warning and sailing unsafe boat into Atlantic winter storm

To the Coast Guard’s credit, they rescued these idiots anyway. Reading about the condition of the boat—carrying only racing sails, hull delaminated, whole thing underequipped —I wouldn’t have sailed it out of my little harbor on a calm summer day without a self-rescue plan in hand and a back-up plan for that. I hope the ...

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To the Coast Guard’s credit, they rescued these idiots anyway.

Reading about the condition of the boat—carrying only racing sails, hull delaminated, whole thing underequipped —I wouldn’t have sailed it out of my little harbor on a calm summer day without a self-rescue plan in hand and a back-up plan for that.

I hope the CG bills them for the cost of fuel, etc.

On a sailing website I follow, one guy listed the sailors’ mistakes:

“Heading off into the N Atlantic during the winter
With a blizzard forecast
Short handed
One of the two had no sailing experience
The captain seemed to have no offshore experience
Crew didn’t seem to know how to fix things themselves
A boat of questionable seaworthiness
It had sat for years
Race boat not set up for short handed sailing
Never took the time to shake things down before leaving
No dodger
No wind vane
A single finicky auto pilot
A big one was that they had time constraints with worries at the other end of the trip
They placed too much emphasis on booze
They did not have proper safety gear (the captain came on board the helicopter in sweat pants instead of a survival suit)
They did not listen to advice”

Photo Credit: Screenshot DvidsHub

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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