Outdoors Magazine

Land Is the Sailor's Greatest Danger

By Sailingguide

This is something offshore sailors know: the hazards of sailing far offshore are relatively minor compared to the dangers of being near, or even almost on, land. Landlubbers and less experienced sailors imagine storms and disasters at sea, but in reality far fewer sailors are injured or killed by storms or mishaps offshore than those near or in their own ports. Partly it is the near-shore risks that account for this, including running aground or up on a reef in shallower water, or a collision with another boater not paying attention. But a wise sailor also recognizes the danger of relaxing too much when one is almost back to port or even on a mooring or dock. Yesterday an offshore sailor who apparently had just sailed singlehanded from Bermuda to Gloucester, Mass., in a 43-foot sailboat, presumably an accomplished offshore sailor, was found dead in the water of Gloucester's inner harbor after mooring his boat - possibly after falling out of his dinghy.

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