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LETTERS hours. He felt his life raft was compromised, as it had come adrift (still in its case) from the cradle, and although he had secured it, he could see the raft itself and felt it might be deployed by a breaking wave. He was unable to start the engine, but he concluded that even if he could get it started—with limited battery reserves and only about 50 hours of diesel and conditions were forecast to ease—he questioned whether—especially with a knee injury sustained some time before this incident—he had the “strength and agility to set up a jury rig and sail 600 miles…the answer was no.” In the article, he does not suggest the boat was damaged beyond repair. Shane gives the following as lessons learned: • Sat phone was more reliable than HF, which he would not take again. • He regretted not testing his drogue in gale conditions, which would probably have alerted him to the risk of damage to the Fleming. • A second regret was having hanked on headsails and not furling, because of the tiring extra work. • Not having a full spare wind vane which he could cannibalize as needed was a mistake. • He believes the 15- to 20-foot breaking wave which rolled Mushka would not have rolled her if taken bow or stern on. • He thinks he should have subjected the mast (although it was checked by a qualified rigger) to a hi-tech metallurgical scan for unseen corrosion. The fifth point, is of course the eternal debate of the wisdom of lying ahull—that is, beam on to sea and wind—which he did from necessity rather than choice, compared with running off—which had seen him through equally bad, possibly worse weather—or heaving to. While not questioning anything Freeman did at the time, I do not think there is enough evidence to draw the conclusion that Mushka was too damaged for repair, and

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December 2017

SOUTHWINDS

scuttling was a sensible thing to do to prevent a floating danger to other small vessels. Of the American entrants, one—Istvan Kopar—has also chosen a Tradewind 35. And Roy Butler Hubbard and Carl Huber both have Bob Perry-designed Baba 35s. Thanks for giving further publicity to a fascinating event. David Watkins S/V Swift Tradewind 35 David, Thank you for your informed letter filled with information on Shane’s capsize. I think my wording would have been better if I had written that he determined that, considering all the factors, the boat was too damaged for him to repair and continue on— instead of stating that the boat was “too damaged for repair.” Sailors of the past have proven too many times that heavily damaged boats can be repaired enough to continue on. My interest in this race, as a result of your letter, has increased, and I will continue to follow it with interest. Trying to relive the voyages of the past when they had more primitive aids to navigation than we have today is almost impossible, because safety is of great concern, as it should be. But at least they are trying to simulate those voyages the best they can. Although I have never crossed an ocean in a sailboat, I have done a fair amount of coastal cruising, crossed the Gulf Stream several times, and sailed to other offshore islands several times. I have often thought about going somewhere without all the modern electronic aids, using dead reckoning, with only a compass and clock, while plotting my course on a chart of the area I was in— since that’s all I had before GPS—and it was a great and enjoyable challenge. I would take along a GPS just in case, but I am not sure I could resist turning it on. I just read a book on Capt. Cook’s travels in the Pacific. Can we imagine trying to relive his experiences, when—on top of having only the most rudimentary aids to navigation—he had no charts? Editor

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Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...