Goofballs on the Water
Every now and then I come across some lame adventure by a dimwit who forces the Coast Guard or other rescue agency to put its men and women at risk in a rescue that should not have to occur.
The latest is the story of Soviet-born Rimas Meleshyus. This guy has had numerous rescues in the past five years, repeatedly venturing offshore in unprepared and/or unsuitable sailboats. The latest rescue came when he was found drifting off Saipan, north of Guam. He was adrift in a 30-foot Rawson sailboat for 137 days. Each time he is rescued, it costs lots of money...and guess who pays for it.
Seriously, I am all for the thrill of adventure in small boats, and understand the solo sailing experience. I used to sail my Baba 30 solo, and there have been several successful circumnavigations in this design, so it is not a size thing. Single handed sailing is all about preparation and focus, and a mindfulness that must stay in the groove. Undertaking such voyaging with anything less, and you will have problems, or worse.
I just don't get why some people feel the need to do (or support) something as stupid as to go offshore unprepared and ill equipped. What is the point? If it doesn't work out, one cries for help and expects to be found and saved by some Coast Guard? Sailing offshore is serious business, and when a rescue is initiated, people are put at risk attempting to locate and rescue such individuals. Even in perfect weather conditions, the potential for mechanical failures of complicated helicopters or other issues is ever present. While rescue personnel dedicate themselves to their duties, it is unfortunate when they are asked to go out there to perform such work needlessly, as in the case of Meleshyus. If he doesn't have the sense to stop doing this, he shouldn't expect to continue to be rescued, costing thousands of dollars and risking the lives of others.
There was some discussion awhile ago about where to draw the line regarding such sailing exploits, as when Dutch sailor Laura Dekker attempted to be the youngest person to sail around the world alone at 15 years old. She completed the voyage at 16, but only after a lengthy court battle aimed to keep her from doing so. Would you let your 15-year-old child leave on such a trip? Not sure I would.
In any case, there are lots of reasons why people want to sail offshore alone, and a perfect example is the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race, which Robin Knox-Johnston won in 1969. Thirty sailors will leave Les Sables-d’Olonne, France next July for a non-stop race around the world. It is more than 30,000 miles, with no stops. The men and women who will compete are hard at work preparing their boats, and themselves, for this challenge. They stand head and shoulders above knuckleheads like Meleshyus.
On another subject, Steve and Linda Dashew will leave our dock in a couple of hours, after spending a bit over a week taking care of business and visiting various friends and family. It is time for them to enjoy fall on the Chesapeake. The couple's unusual and highly-cool FPB Cochise got the attention of our neighborhood and everyone wanted to see the boat. I have lots of images and video to share in the coming days, as there is so much to showcase that you will find interesting and informative. Kind of wondering how best to present this, however, as a 50-page article with pictures is not exactly the blog-like content one reads on a smartphone.
In any case, I'll figure it out and give everyone a look at one of the most innovative ocean motorboat I've been aboard. Steve Dashew keeps evolving and improving his boat, and there is no end in sight, as technology continues to offer better and more efficient solutions and products.
Have a great weekend.