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Now Something New to Worry About on Your Boat?

By Sailingguide

Put this one down as yet another unusual rescue story. Two days ago the Coast Guard rescued two sailors in a 49-foot sailboat some 30 miles off Cape Hatteras. They had called for help because they were disabled, adrift, and taking on water. Presumably they couldn't keep up with the leak (did they have the right gear on board to stop the leak?) by manually pumping (assuming they had manual pumps?) since the water had apparently shorted out the boat's electrical system. Thereby disabling electric pumps, of course. So here's what I find interesting: they were "disabled and adrift" not only because without electricity they couldn't start their engine, but also because they had "electronic auto-furl" sails that apparently couldn't be manually deployed. Wow. Call  me old-fashioned, but one of the reasons I feel good in a sailboat is knowing that if my engine or batteries die, I can probably sail to safe port - as sailors have for millennia. I confess to some dismay about what I see as a growing dependence on electronics and complex systems, which are all the more likely to fail. So let me suggest a slightly revised version of the classic KISS principle: Keep It Simple and Safe. And of course, when you go offshore,  always have the right safety equipment on board for all possible emergencies.

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