Tragedies in the South Pacific

During the 2012 season we kept hearing about other boats' tragedies - each one a convincing reminder to us to be diligent and focused while cruising.

Below are four reports of vessels who went aground on reefs, reporting everything from only cosmetic damage to dismasting. We heard of at least twice as many groundings but won't mention the boat names of anyone who hasn't posted publicly about the grounding themselves.

For a few other newsworthy events this season, check out the following reports:

We don't want to be armchair sailors and judge anyone without knowing all of the details. We want to thank the people who posted about their groundings because they are important reminders and learning points for the rest of us.

On the subject, I recommend that people read Karen's letter about a vessel abandoned on the high seas (Windigo) as an educational thought exercise on our obligation as sailors if we abandon our ship. Scuttling isn't just a fun pirate word...


  1. I've lost track of the times where we've just been damn lucky and avoided disaster, even when we did everything right. It even happened just the other day when some crazy teenagers barely missed our car as they zipped around through traffic here on NZ's Hwy 1!

  2. Thanks for this compilation. We do try to learn from these situations and much too often it seems that complacency leads to dangerous situations.
    As to Windigo, one thing to love and hate about cruising is you'll get the full range of human emotions, all of them seemingly distilled to a previously unknown level of the highest purity. That's wonderful for the joys and triumphs, but it sucks for fear. I can't say they made the wrong decision to abandon ship because I wasn't there. But even though they must have been scared out of their minds, it's not right to leave a boat behind in that condition. Nicole and I will always fight for Bella Star, and we've promised not to give up on her until she gives up on us.

  3. The crew of Windigo had head injuries to the point where they had lost consciousness - although I'm sure they were terrified this is the reason they abandoned ship. According to our friend Bruce on Adventure Bound Windigo's mast & sails were fine and likely could have sailed on.

    If Michael and I were - god forbid - both injured and we had to abandon our perfectly fine ship I doubt we would scuttle her. I'm sure we would button her up and try to go back for her if we could. It's a slightly different situation than if the boat were already sinking.

  4. Excellent compilation with great lessons and plenty to think about. Thanks for posting this.



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